One of A.J.'s favorite Bible stories is Noah's Ark. He's been having a little trouble adjusting to the nursery being at a new church, so I sat in his Sunday school for a few minutes until he got a little more comfortable there recently. They sang some songs. A.J. looked around the room with a stiff face not participating. And then, the teacher began to talk about Noah's Ark. A.J. perked up. The teacher said, "It rained and it rained and it rained. It was like a big lake. Has anyone seen a lake before?"
"Yes, I-I seen a lake," A.J. said. He pushed up from his sitting position on his little rug so that now he was kneeling. "And there was, there was boats or something. Boats or something."
She talked about the animals and then when she was reaching the end, A.J. brought up his typical question during Noah's Ark. "Where was Jesus?"
My answer has never seemed to suffice: "Jesus wasn't born yet."
"Oh oh Jesus wasn't born yet," A.J. always repeats.
I flip through our Bible and show Him how Jesus' pictures don't show up until the latter half of the Bible, while Noah's Ark is in the beginning. Children don't seem to have much of a sense of chronology though, not even seeming to understand that yesterday was the past.
Probably feeling the same as I always do when A.J. asks me that, which is, How do I answer that? she simply said, "Jesus wasn't there."
The Diet on the Ark
At dinner last night, I told Andrew about the pet store that the children and I had visited during our walk earlier in the day. I said how A.J. told me: "Oh, the lizards eat lettuce. The lizards eat lettuce."
"They feed them the same salad that we eat," I laughed to Andrew. "I thought it was really neat how A.J. observed what they ate. You know, that some of them eat the same things as us. Or, 'Oh, look at that snake. They eat live worms. Hmmm...we don't eat live worms...although is that what spaghetti is...?'"
Then A.J. pitched in: "All the animals in-in Noah's ark." He has no trouble speaking to us about the day-to-day things. Like, "Mama, please drink. Mama, please more. Mama, I all done. Mama, Gracie fussin." But he was really making an effort to communicate what was on his mind, making up new sentences rather than memorized ones that I taught him. He was squinting his eyes, looking to the side every time he had to form a new phrase.
He went on for a few minutes telling us all about the animals.
"Oh really, A.J.? There were giraffes on the ark and elephants?" I said.
"Yeah. Yeah. And Jesus was the door."
"Jesus was the door. Hmmm...I think I heard something like that before," I mumbled to Andrew, wandering if A.J. had better theology than me. "In a way, that's definitely true. God sealed the door and protected them from the flood."
"Yeah. Yeah," A.J. said breathlessly. "And. And they ate bagels inside. The animals ate bagels inside the ark."
I turned from Andrew to A.J. "A.J., did you just say bagels?" I said. "The animals ate bagels inside the ark?" I looked at Andrew like, where did he get that one from?
Andrew thought hard for a few moments. "Noah's Bagels." He started laughing. "A.J. must have heard me mention it when we went to the supermarket the other day. Remember, we saw Noah's Bagels?"
We did our best to stifle our laughter, though we laughed really hard.
"Yeah," A.J. finished. "The animals ate - animals ate bagels in the ark."