Sunday Reflection Easter 2 Year C How do we learn?

As a child, I was fascinated by the imagery of Thomas putting his hands into the holes in Christ hands, it was vivid and gruesome and made me happy that I wasn’t Thomas, that I didn’t have to satisfy my faith with such a tactile expression.

As a teacher, the story of Thomas reminds me that we all learn in different ways and that some children will learn by doing. They are the Thomas’s of the world. But the thing with learning styles is that we don’t just stop being a tactile, or kinesetic learner just because we are, well, more elderly.

So, what do we do with our “Thomas’s” in our congregations, the ones that need to act on their faith or test it. Most congregations put these handy people to good use, in making things for the community, in tasking them with collection, greeting duties or making cups of tea. But what of the children?

They are equally handy at doing these many tasks, and in doing so they become Christlike and offer Christ in their expression of action.

It was only 20 years ago that I could not get resources to help my severely dyslexic daughter explore faith. But things have thankfully changed and very few resources use only one learning style in their programs. Sadly, she was never encouraged to participate productively in church community. It is not surprising that she shuns formalised worship, associating it with things she can’t do rather than finding faith is more than that. (She did though surprise me this Easter by attending a worship service near her home,)

I don’t know where the statement “Faith is belief in things we do not understand”, comes from, but it flies in the faith of how I understand some people learn. They do need to see it, participate in it to find it.

These days there are many varied resources, using different learning methodology for our children to participate in.

One I’m particularly fond of is the Flame Creative Kids blog, which uses, many kinesetic methods. The prayers that come out of this blog are wonderful for all ages and would satisfy all “Thomas’s” in your congregation old and young. If you thought prayer was a verbal conversation with God, this blog will have you thinking again.

A path prayer which is no longer on the site, is one of my all time favourites, where the 80 year olds seemed to appreciate it even more than the children! A physical prayer, standing on different surfaces.

I have taken my thoughts in a direction very different to the usual interpretation of this passage, and I can understand how many would prefer to dwell on the more traditional element of doubt and belief, I am not denying that it is a strong, if not the major motif in this passage. Just that I can see something else too.


Wendy L.


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