The BFG and the Gospel, Part 1: The Big Faraway God?
This series shares the content of the Wildkids Day Camp I'm leading for 5th/6th graders at our church this week.
God is often understood to be...
- Ancient and Enormous (un-relatable)
- Otherworldly (not usually around)
- Undetectable (only in our dreams?)
- Frightening (man-eating?)
- Confusing (uses big, strange words)
The Bible contains many stories about faith overcoming fear, confusion and many other obstacles to knowing God.
Today we are asking, "Is God the Big Faraway God?"
We tend to teach children two truths in tension:
1) God is everywhere and all around us
2) God is "up there" in heaven
So where is God?
Many of us live without an ongoing sense of God's presence, but will call upon the Lord in prayer to intervene in time of need. The picture in our minds may be that of a distant God reaching into our situation to bring help.
The Big Friendly Giant travels by night from his home faraway. Through a special trumpet he blows dreams he has caught into the minds of sleeping children. And then he is off, undetected. Young Sophie soon discovers that this faraway helper who walked the streets of her town must not only run incredibly fast to return home - he must run into the clouds in a flight of sorts.
The Christmas story tells of the coming of God into our world in human form - in Jesus, newborn son of Mary. God had always been here. Now, God was here in the flesh; two feet on the ground He created. Unlike the giants who resist detection, God came to be the light shining in the darkness. God "was in the world...yet the world did not know Him." (John 1:10)
To young Mary - barely older than our 5th/6th graders - the angel's message that she would bear the Son of the Most High was not only frightening; it was perplexing. "How could this be?" How could Almighty God stoop so low as to look upon me with favor?
Mary's soul sings of the magnificence of God who has done and will do great things in faithfulness to the promise God made to Abraham and to his descendants forever. Through the womb of a willing servant, the Kingdom of God arrived in all its fullness.
The BFG gives children dreams of things that could be, implanting desires and visions to inspire better living.
The Kingdom of God is the Dream of God, made known in Christ Jesus and blown into our lives by the trumpeting Holy Spirit. What things may be? What will become of our lives, our world, when the Dream of God bursts into the fullness of reality?
The Kingdom and the Dream is near.