Noah's Noisy Ark
Props: The Congregation
If you missed the January 15 Children's Story Today retelling of the Jonah story in this congregation-participation format, here is a second chance to use a storytelling method that is fun and effective. If you did share The Story of Jonah, a Big Fish and Making Good Choices, it may be a bit soon for a repeat. I plan to post an alternative in the next day or two based on the Baptism of Jesus, so check back if the following doesn't work for you this week. For those new to CST, however, read on and enjoy!
Divide the congregation into groups. Invite each group to respond with the words or actions below each time its assigned word is spoken in the story.
God - Ask the church organist in advance to strike the music for the first "Halleluia!" of Handel's famous Chorus from Messiah
Noah - This group raises its hand and says, "Here!"
Ark - This group sings the first words to "Sailing, Sailing!" or "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"
Animals - Each person in the room makes his or her favorite animal noise
Rainbow - This group points at the sky and says, "Ooh, pretty!"
Now, read the story:
Everybody on the earth was rotten to the core. Everybody, that is, except for one family. The Lord God was fed up. The Lord decided to clean up the whole mess and start over again with the one family in the world who would listen to God's commands. So God said to Noah, "I need you to do something for me. I want you to bild me a big boat--an ark, if you will. It has to be really big, huge, enormous. When you are done, you and your family are going to put two of every kind of animal inside the big boat to protect them when I flood the earth. You'd better get started. I feel a rain cloud coming on."
So Noah built the ark according to God's blueprints. His neighbors asked him what he was doing. "Building an ark," he said. "Why?" they asked. "Because the Lord told me to. God is going to send a flood and destroy the earth, you know." His neighbors laughed. Noah kept hammering.
Finally, the ark was finished. Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives started gathering up the animals. They put two of every kind of animal in the ark--llamas and lambs, hyenas and hedgehogs, cattle and cats, robins and roosters, snakes and slugs, flies and flamingoes. That huge ark was filled from top to bottom with every kind of critter under the sun. Noah slammed the great door of the ark shut.
A day went by. Nothing happened. Two days went by, then three. Still nothing happened. Finally, after a week, it began to sprinkle. Next it rained. Then it poured. It rained and it poured like nobody's business. It rained and poured for days and days. The animals became restless. The bugs wanted to dig in the dirt The sheep wanted to graze on the fresh spring grass. The birds longed to soar through the sky. The rain kept falling.
But God did not forget Noah and the animals. After forty days and forty nights, the rain stopped. The clouds disappeared. The sun shone brightly, and everyone inside the ark cheered. The water all around the big boat went down, down, down until the ark rested on the top of a tall mountain.
Noah knew the earth was dry when he set a dove free and it didn't come back. He opened the big, heavy door. The bright sun streamed in. Everyone cheered again. Noah and his family led the animals outside the ark into the sunlight to begin a new life on the fresh-scrubbed earth.
The first thing Noah did was to build an altar and worship God, who then gave Noah a blessing and a promise. "I am now making my promise with you and your descendants, and with all the animals," said the Lord God. "I promise I will never wipe out the whole world with a flood again. I will put a rainbow in the sky, and every time I see the rainbow I will remember my promise not to flood the whole world again."
Noah breathed a sigh of relief and said, "Thank-you, God."
Let's Pray: Dear God, help us to remember your promise, your love and forgiveness each time we see a rainbow in the sky. In Jesus' name, Amen.