There’s an online community called The Alchemy Project which does nothing so boring and dull as turning base-metals into gold. Instead, The Alchemy Project looks at creative ways to explore the bible.
So when they recently encouraged their readers to retell a passage of the bible using a playlist of between 4 and 8 songs, it seemed impossible for “God’s Toddler” not to try…with toddler-style songs.
The following playlist is inspired by 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. I hope you do the actions.
This song gives a great background to 1 Corinthians. It’s written by the apostle Paul to a church with deep internal divisions. The church is elitist and unjust. It seems to have combined the worst excesses of anything bad we’ve ever seen or heard in a church.
It almost seems pointless even writing. From the viewpoint of any objective observer, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put the church in Corinth together again.
OK, so I’ve cheated here by using a children’s song which is explicitly biblical. But I’m a toddler. We’re whimsical like that.
The song that tells us that the toe-bone’s connected to the foot-bone and so on mirrors the bible’s account of a guy called Ezekiel and his vision of a valley of dry bones. “Son of man,” God asks him, “can these bones live?”
Then God breathes, and where a moment ago were dry bones, stands a vast army of living, breathing people.
We’ve seen irreparable bits of broken eggshell; a Humpty-Dumpty divided church; a valley of dry bones. Paul starts talking about what happens when God’s spirit breathes…
Two fat gentlemen
“For we were all baptised by one spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free.”
This is not a great song if you struggle with finger coordination. Two fat gentlemen (your thumbs) bow to one another, followed by thin ladies, tall policemen and so forth until all of your fingers have bowed to one another.
Here we’re reminded that, whether Jews, Gentiles, slaves, free, fat gentlemen, thin ladies, tall policemen, little schoolboys or little babies, we are all fingers on the same hands.
Go on. Do the actions. You know you want to.
Heads, shoulders, knees and toes
“God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”
Yep. All in their place. Keep doing the actions. Point at the parts of your body. Point at your head. Point at your shoulders. Point at your knees. Point at your toes. All in their places.
Now point at the wonderful people in the church in the fantastic places God has called them. I know it’s rude to point, but we’re toddlers so we’ll do it anyway. Point them out and celebrate them.
One finger / One thumb
“You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. God has placed in the church apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.”
OK, so we’ve established we’re all part of Christ body…but he calls us to DO something with that fact. He appoints us to be apostles, or prophets, or teachers…but – finger or thumb – to keep moving!
“And now I will show you the most excellent way…”
The Hokey Cokey is apocryphally attributed to the Latin “Hoc est enim corpus meum” – or “this is my body” from the Catholic mass. This has on occasion been used as an anti-Catholic taunt, but along with all of God’s Toddlers I would like to take this opportunity to reclaim the joy of the Hokey Cokey and turn its reputed origin on its head.
Because it is in this passage that we acknowledge that we are Christ’s body.
Now is the time, as are all times… this is the place, as are all places… for Catholics and Protestants, Conservatives and Progressives, Evangelicals and Liberals to join hands and, with joyful abandon and celebrating the fact that while we are different we are part of Christ’s body, do the Hokey Cokey.
© Text 2015 Paul Brownnutt
Being God’s Toddler by Paul Brownnutt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.