The question was “How did Jesus die?” and I thought it was going to be an easy one. Don’t missionary kids already know everything about faith and the Bible? Apparently not.
“The people threw stones at him,” one kindergartener answered.
“Yes,” the other agreed. “He was stoned.” Their second guess, “Um . . . swords and spears?” was also incorrect.
“No,” I said. “Jesus died on a cross.”
And they chorused, “To take away our sins!”
Originally, we began playing Bible trivia from time to time in place of our regular school devotions as a way to give the teachers an occasional break from writing those devotions. That it also works as a diagnostic tool, highlighting gaps in kindergarten knowledge, was an unexpected bonus. The kindergarten team received no points for their speculation on Jesus’s death. However, when they answered their next question, “Out of what leaves did Adam and Eve make coverings for themselves?” with a very confident “Fake leaves,” we called it a pronunciation error and did award them the point.
On Fridays, we swap out regular devotions in favor of Friday Worship. Each student contributes by bringing a Bible verse to share, and I contribute by bringing my ukulele. I only started playing the ukulele last Christmas, so I am nowhere near any good, but the children are blissfully unaware of things like talent and skill. (They are only recently aware of ukuleles at all; I’ve only just gotten one kindergartener to stop calling mine an organ.) We are also fairly unaware of anything like rhythm or “keeping the beat,” favoring, instead, jubilant bursts of percussion spaced randomly throughout each song. My students take turns on the tambourine and the egg shakers. The maracas may double as microphones. Our preschooler will be moved to liturgical dance. And any student not otherwise engaged plays his own air-ukulele. (Or, sometimes, his own air-“organ.”)