Anna McQueen, Primary Teacher
Nothing captivates our imaginations, pulls on our heart strings or sends us on a rollercoaster of emotions like a good story. It’s the reason many of us spend hours with our noses in a book, or eyes glued to a cinema screen. We love stories. Who has not laughed at one character’s comedy of errors, felt rising joy at another’s triumph, or shed a tear at an unfolding tragedy? Stories also offer an escape from our own lives. We get lost in the amazing, fantastical, idyllic worlds that are before us on screen or page. Sometimes we wish we were part of those worlds.
But of course, those stories are not real. When we fold the book shut, or switch off the screen, we go back to our familiar, and not-so-idyllic reality; a reality that may be unspeakably tragic or unbearably difficult.
Last term in Year 3, we read a story. It was called The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross. The tagline reads “The true story of how Jesus died and rose again.” It is a story based on the great and true reality of the Bible.
The Garden: The first part of the story focuses on a world, a garden. God created it. He created it all. He created people to live with Him and enjoy being with Him. As a class, we observed that Adam and Eve were so close to God that they could walk and talk with Him. This made it all the more sad when they turned away from God. Like a scratched CD, the shattered fragments of a priceless heirloom, or the lost pieces of an unfinished puzzle, we can never repair the consequences of turning away from God.
The Curtain: The next part of the story is about the curtain; not just any curtain; the temple curtain. It was an impressive 18 metre tall, purple, hand-embroidered piece of tapestry. It stood between God’s people and the Most Holy Place in the Temple. It reminded people that “It’s good to live with Him [God] but because of your sin, you can’t come in.” The curtain represents the lasting effects of our turning away from God, and the way we hurt each other by turning away from people too. This is called sin. Our world can never be perfect because there is sin. We long for perfection but we can see how unattainable it is. Without God, our world and our selves will always be broken.
The Cross: The final part of the story focuses on Jesus. He came to fix the imperfection and brokenness we experience with each other and with God. He paid the price for our sin by dying on a cross. He did not stay dead. He rose to life again. He will return to restore His people to a perfect relationship with God. The curtain has been torn in two. There is no barrier between God and His people any more.
This may be a story that you are very familiar with. It doesn’t take us to another planet; a fantastical realm of elves and hobbits, knights, heroes and romance. It is not a comfortable story or an escape, and it is a story that is too wonderful for our minds to fully grasp. It reveals our deepest flaws. It challenges and confronts us. It also comforts and leads us, teaches and saves us, because it’s all true.