Oh, gentle reader, what would cause one to even click on a title that’s poised to sing the praises of Sunday School?
Who knows. But here we are, so let’s make the most of it.
I love Sunday School. I’ve always loved Sunday School. I grew up in an era and in a church where Sunday School went hand-in-hand with your Sunday worship attendance. You went to Sunday School, went to the bathroom and the water fountain, then you went to the church service (or Big Church).
As a kid, my mother would use Sunday School as a boundary line for the jokes I could tell. I’d tell her something on a Friday after school that I thought was funny to a 7-year-old who rode the school bus. She’d laugh and then say, “don’t tell that story in Sunday School.”
And the teachers. Saints among saints, they were. My mom would tell a story of her and her friend Karen and their 200-year-old Sunday School teacher when they were elementary age. They’d come into class and ask, “what are you gonna teach us today? About God and sin?”
Whether as a student or as a teacher I’ve always loved Sunday School and as of today, its been over 30 weeks since I’ve gotten to gather with my class due to Coronavirus. October 25, that will all change.
When I taught my last Sunday in March, there was serious talk of that being our last Sunday to meet in person for probably 2 weeks. 14 days and we’d flatten the curve. As 2 Sundays turned into 30, I attended my first teachers meeting since the closures and the leader asked, “what are you most excited about in the relaunch of Sunday School?” As I chewed on this question my mind went back to the origin story of Sunday School.
In the 18th century, time was an incredible luxury to both the young and the old. With large numbers of England’s poor children in workhouses and factories, this left no time for formal education and soon the cost was seen in Europe; an entire generation that couldn’t read or write with one day off a week – Sunday.
The church saw the plight and decided they had a wonderful remedy. They would teach the children (and adults) to read and write, feed them a little something for breakfast and send them to Big Church. What would they read and learn to write? With the Bible as their textbook and compassionate saints as their teacher, Sunday School was born. The point wasn’t fellowship, although that happens. The point wasn’t to raise scholars, although that happens. The point was to give both literal bread and the Bread of Life that all might be able to read and enjoy the scriptures on their own.
And that’s what I’m looking forward to the most. Opening the Bread of Life with the gals in my class, praying with each other and learning how to read the Scripture a little more on my own.
What is the title of the first lesson back?
God and Sin.
And I couldn’t be more excited.