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PROVISIONS IN THE DESERT (Manna, quail and water from the rock)

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THE MIRACLE OF MANNA, TINTORETTO, 1577.
manna.jpg
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Click here for: * Overview * Background Notes * Questions for Discussion * Workshops, Rotation 1 * Workshops, Rotation 2

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OVERVIEW

TOPIC/STORY:

A set of stories about how God never gives up on grumblers.


WORKSHOPS & ACTIVITIES

Arts/Sand art symbols, Drama/photo shot list for slideshow or short video, Kitchen/chicken salad wraps.



SOURCE TEXTS:

Exodus 16 - 17.7. READ THIS.



KEY VERSE:

Exodus 16: 11 - 12.



The Lord spoke to Moses and said, "I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God. (New Standard Revised Version)



AFTER STORYTIME IN CHURCH, ALL CHILDREN MEET FOR GATHERING TIME, BRIEF REVIEW, THEN GO TO SCHEDULED WORKSHOPS.

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BACKGROUND NOTES & OTHER NEAT INFO.


LET'S START WITH THE DETAILS -- WHAT'S MANNA?

Footnotes to these verses in the NOAB/NRSV say "the name of the food, manna, is explained by an expression meaning 'What is it?'


"The description here... corresponds fairly closely to the carbohydrate-rich excretion of two scale-insects that feed on the twigs of the tamarisk tree." (There's a neat picture of this tree and Moses's rock in the National Geographic book, Everyday Life in Bible Times, which can be found in many resource centres.)


EXODUS MAP.

Here's a pretty fair map of a possible Exodus route. To see it, click
here.



HOW TO TEACH THESE MIRACULOUS PROVISION STORIES.

Workshop Rotation Model 'founder' Neil MacQueen makes a great point about the inter-relatedness of these stories in a commentary on the website. He writes: "Normally a Rotation would concentrate on ONE story, -and indeed, many churches might just pick the story of the Manna and Quail and ignore the Bitter Waters and Water from the Rock. But that's not the way to teach it. The Manna and Quail story is part of a trio of episodes during the Exodus. The author of Exodus takes care to tell us of three places which the Hebrews journeyed to -- complaining all the way. And each time, God provides."



BIT OF CONTEXT ON THE BOOK OF EXODUS.

The stories of these miraculous provisions of food occur in the Book of Exodus. This book concerns itself with "the liberation of Israel from Egypt by 'the God of Abraham.. Isaac, and ..Jacob.' (Introductory Notes on Exodus in the NOAB/NRSV.)



These particular events take place when the fledgling nation on the run is bogged down in the wilderness, after the Egyptian army has been swamped by the Red Sea.



ENDURING STORY...

The Introduction to Exodus in the New Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV) explains the book this way:

"it is best to read Exodus as a finished narrative, a story -- though never forgetting that it has a pre-history, and that in its final form within the larger story of the Torah or Pentateuch, it is the definitive story of the establishment of Israel as a people freed from human tyranny who become slaves to their own loving God."



WITH MYTHIC PROPORTIONS FOR ALL OPPRESSED PEOPLE.

Canadian writer and former moderator of the United Church of Canada, Lois Wilson, expresses it this way in her book Miriam, Mary and Me: "A cursory look at the contemporary ecumenical world-wide scene reveals an awareness of the Exodus as God's "No" to exploitation."



THE 'ONLY THING THAT REALLY HAPPENS' IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.

In his section of the book, Biblical and Classical Myths, Chp. 9, Canadian writer and scholar Northrop Frye sets it out bluntly like this:

"We saw [in earlier chapters] that there was a series of these [falling and rising] narrative movements, and that the first historical one, that is, the one following the "fall" out of the garden of Eden, is the descent into Egypt and subsequent deliverance of Israel. That sequence is the model for all others. The captivity and the return from Babylon are thought of as simply a repetition of the deliverance from Egypt. Over and over again, in the Psalms and elsewhere, Jehovah says, "I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt..."



"The deliverance, consequently, is the one thing that happens. As the Exodus is a model for every deliverance in the Old Testament, we can say that, metaphorically, the Exodus is the only thing that really happens in the Old Testament. Hence in the Christian Bible, the Exodus would be, more than any other event in the Old Testament, the type [meaning something like prototype] of the most important antitype of Christianity, that is, the Resurrection of Christ." (BCM, p. 92.)



OTHER PARALLELS BETWEEN THE WILDERNESS AND THE CHRISTIAN STORY.

Further on in BCM, Frye explains: "There follows the forty years of wandering in the desert, as, immediately following the baptism, Jesus wanders forty days in the desert... The law is received from the top of a mountain. So, in Matthew, is the Sermon on the Mount, which contains the kernel of so much of the gospel... There is also the miraculous provision of food, similar to the miraculous feedings during the ministry of Christ." (p, 93.)



THE NATURE OF FREEDOM IN EXODUS...

In Chp. 14 of BCM, Frye notes the scene in Exodus is one where there's a "situation of tyranny and exploitation going on to start with: the first datum is injustice, tyranny and exploitation. God then announces that he is giving himself a name and a highly partisan role, and is going to enter history on the side of the oppressed classes. Never mind how you got into this situation: how you get out of it is the important thing. (p. 145.)



AND IN THE BIBLE.

Frye wraps up this concept in a two tight brilliant sentences in Great Code: "Thus in Milton [John, of Paradise Lost], whom we have cited so frequently because he is one of the most rewarding examples in Western history of the combination of Biblical and secular cultures, liberty is the chief thing that the gospel has to bring to man. But man for Milton does not want and cannot 'naturally' want freedom: he gets it only because God wants him to have it." (GC, p. 232.)



AWESOME ART.

Here's one piece of art that I thought stood out from the rest. It's by Tintoretto from 1577. Find more art on .



LASTING LYRICS.

We looked at how Exodus has had resonance for many people struggling for independence over time. One hears echoes of Exodus in the lyrics to the spiritual, 'Follow the Drinking Gourd.'

It looks likely that the song has played an inspirational role over time, rather than forming an actual historical how-to for escaping slaves wanting to catch the Underground Railroad. See this site for some interesting thinking on this topic:

Follow the drinking gourd.org.


The fact remains that the song has stayed alive in the contemporary cultural memory, even in the inspirational level, in large part because it is anchored in the seminal images of the quest for freedom, as set out in the Exodus story.

Here are lyrics for verse 1:


When the sun comes back,

and the first Quail calls,

Follow the drinking gourd,

For the old man is waiting

for to carry you to freedom

If you follow the drinking gourd.



Chorus:

Follow the drinking gourd,

Follow the drinking gourd,

For the old man is waiting

for to carry you to freedom

If you follow the drinking gourd.


QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

- Have you ever had a time where you felt you were 'wandering in the wilderness?'

- How would you describe your wilderness?

- Did you feel God was there with you?

- Did you perhaps feel like the Israelites that God had given you 'just enough' to make it back to civilization?

- What were the provisions -- the manna, quail and water -- that God provided for you?

- Who were the mentors that God provided you with during your tough time?

- In what way did you communicate with them?

- In what way did you communicate your story after the hard time was over?

- Name other stories in the Bible that are about finding or acquiring freedom.

- Name other stories in literature that are about finding freedom after oppression.

- Name other stories in pop culture -- like movies -- that are about finding freedom.




WORKSHOPS


Please find below suggested workshops for this unit. For each one, when you are in real time with the children:

1. Quickly review or recap the story with them before starting activity. Each week, see how much more detail each group of kids can supply on the story they've been studying.

2. Link or explain your activity to the current story.


KITCHEN

ACTIVITY: MAKE CHICKEN SALAD WRAPS. WILL HIGHLIGHT THE FOOD/BREAD/MEAT ELEMENTS OF THIS STORY.



INGREDIENTS:

- wrap flats

- chopped chicken

- mayo

- chopped green onions

- chopped celery

-whatever other items you like in your chicken salad!



REAL TIME WITH THE CHILDREN

Ready. Quickly review or recap the story with them before starting activity.

Set. Link or explain your activity to the current story.

Go. Wrap it up!



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DRAMA WORKSHOP



ACTIVITY: STAGE SCENES OF THE STORY FOR INCLUSION IN A 'FAMILY' WEB ALBUM. (*Note: Miriam has a strong role in the Exodus story, referred to as a prophet in Ex. 15. So there's no reason a female or several female character couldn't figure prominently in leadership and crowd scenes here!)



MATERIALS: costume box, digital camera.



SHOT LIST OF SCENES FOR ALBUM:

1. Shot of group leaving palm trees at Elim.

2. Group arrives at desert.

3. Closeups of complaints and much pointing at empty pots.

4. Cutaway of God talking to Moses.

5. Moses tells group to get their baskets ready to gather quail by night and manna by morning.

6. Shot of paper scraps all over the ground.

7. Shot of tasting bread bits.

8. Shot of holding nose over basket left too long.

9. Group moves to in front of big rock.

10. Closeups of people looking thirsty.

11. Shot of some chars complaining to Moses. Could show upsidedown (empty) water jug.

12. Shot of Moses talking to God.

13. Shot of Moses hitting big rock with stick.

14. Shot of people with lots of happy people in front of rock with water jugs (can be borrowed from kitchen).

15. All pose for final 'happy family shot.'


For photo from our senior class slideshow, click here.




IN REAL TIME WITH THE CHILDREN

1. Quickly review or recap the story with them before starting activity. Each week, see how much more detail each group of kids can supply on the story they've been studying.

2. Link or explain your activity to the current story.

3. Shoot!



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ARTS WORKSHOP

ACTIVITY: MAKE SAND ART REPRESENTATION OF KEY IMAGES FROM THIS STORY, IE MANNA, QUAIL, WATER, DESERT....



MATERIAL:

- construction paper

- coloured sand

- glitter glue.



INSTRUCTIONS:

a. Keep the drawing very simple.

b. Draw with pencil and then cover the area with glue and colored sand.

c. Work at one small section at a time.

d. First decide what color and where it will go.

e. Put a thin layer of glue on the paper.

f. Pour one color of sand over the glue using a plastic spoon.

g. After each color has been applied, lift the paper up and shake lightly over a paper plate

or tray to collect the excess sand to use again.

h. Repeat until the entire paper is covered.

i. If one is having trouble thinking of something to do, tell them one of the most effective images to create in sand is a landscape. Place a few wavy lines across the paper and fill in with different earth colors for a very interesting sand painting.

Click here for full instructions for this sand art activity on the WORM website.



IN REAL TIME WITH THE CHILDREN

1. Quickly review or recap the story with them before starting activity. Each week, see how much more detail each group of kids can supply on the story they've been studying.

2. Link or explain your activity to the current story.

3. Think sand!



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manna2.jpg

Manna & Quail, Rotation 2


New workshops include: * Arts/manna collecting baskets * Kitchen/mock manna kebobs * Game/treasure hunt * Music/teach classic hymns with ‘manna’ in them * Beatbox * Computer/Exodus Adventures

WORKSHOPS




Please find below suggested workshops for this unit. For each one, when you are in real time with the children:

1. Quickly review or recap the story with them before starting activity. Each week, see how much more detail each group of kids can supply on the story they've been studying.

2. Link or explain your activity to the current story.


ARTS -- Collecting baskets from paper lunch bags

Collecting God’s bounty is a lot easier with a collecting basket.

Materials: paper lunch bags, hole punch, yarn, coloured art charcoals

How to do this.

Fold down the top of each bag, then fold down again to make a rim of several thicknesses. Punch a hole thru each side of bag. Thread yarn thru each side, tie ends, pull up for double yarn cord handle.

Imagining decorating implements would be scarce in the wilderness, have the children embellish bags in charcoal with images that make them think of thankfulness to God.


KITCHEN -- Mock manna kebabs

Thread reminders of God’s provenance on bamboo skewers.

Ingredients: chicken nuggets, cubes of dense bread like pumpernickel (for colour contrast beside chicken and ease of threading), cubes of watermelon and honey dew melon.

Directions: Each child will make 2 kind of kebabs – a ‘main course’ with the bread and chicken, representing manna and quail. And a ‘dessert’ kebab, with ‘water’ melon to remind them of water from the rock, and honey ‘dew’ melon to remind them of manna that stayed on the ground in the morning.

Cook nuggets in microwave as directed. Then thread main course kebab with alternating chicken and bread.

Thread dessert kebab with alternating cubes of watermelon and honey dew.

A little blessing before tucking in would of course fit perfectly with the lesson!


MUSIC -- Teach a classic hymn

A ‘manna’ search on Cyberhymnal.org turns up a couple of excellent choices. The lyrics are old fashioned. In the early verses the text is passable and teachable for young children. You may have to explain a bit what the words mean. As always, feel free to draft some new verses.

* Day by day the manna fell

Brethren we have met to worship


GAME -- Treasure Hunt

Why this activity: to remind children that finding the treasure God has set out for you requires focus and faith.

Create a list of six objects or images from this story for children to find. Objects to find can be cut from construction paper. Cut one for each team so players have visual reminders in hand. For example

1. grumbly faces/sad ‘happy’ faces (you know what I mean!)

2. praying hands/hand tracings

3. manna/bread cubes or soda crackers

4. quail/chicken drumsticks

5. water/water glasses or big rain drop

6. God’s love/valentine heart


Break class into teams.

Hide treasures in key locations around church or Sunday school

Create a map of location. Or just let the kids loose to look. (Leave tell tale signs for hiding places if not using a map)

Give all team members a reward (sour ‘water’ – melon candies?) when come back with treasure and can explain how the objects relate to the story. Ok to explain in teams.


Beat Box

Why: use sound effects and action to reinforce key plot points of this bible story.

How it works.

**This concept is borrowed from the Beat Team segment in the children’s show 4 Square on Treehouse TV. If you have a PC, you can view a clip online. Go to Treehousetv.com and follow the links. We Mac users would appear to be out of luck on this one!

Divide class into 4 groups or parts.

Brainstorm 4 different parts to produce together like a round.

Have groups practice separately. Then try each other's parts. Then come in in sequence like a round.

Take your Beat Box to another, perhaps younger class. Or share during worship at children's story time.

Suggestions for 4 parts.

1. Say, Grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble (cross arms over chest and wag head from side to side).

2. Say, Meat raining down (act out catching falling objects, arms in big circles like a hamper)

3. Say, bread on the ground (act out bending over to harvest manna and put in basket at one elbow)

4. God is good, God is good. (make wide circle with arms, ended with hands folded in prayer. Or could pray and pretend to put bread to mouth and tear off piece with teeth).



COMPUTER
– Exodus Adventures, make a maze

Don’t hurt yourself, look no further than Sunday Software’s excellent Exodus Adventures.

The 30 – 40 minute Lesson/Game 2 on this disk is dedicated to this part of the liberated Israelites’ journey.

For more detail on Exodus Adventures, click here.

Another idea – create a maze online. The Israelites suffered a maze-like crisis of faith while wandering around in the desert. They had to find their trust in God in order to get out. Get thru the maze like the Israelites.

Here’s a link to a create your own maze site. To print out, take a screen capture and print.

* Online Maze Designer site


Click here to return to Top of page for Background Notes, as well as Manna & Quail, Rotation 1 Workshops.



All original text 2004 - 2014, LD McKenzie

For a brief site ed's bio, click here:

BIO

Components of these lesson sets may be used for non-profit educational purposes, citing this author and site.

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