Maddie heard the door slam shut. Jennie came through into the kitchen singing lustily a song she had learnt in Sunday School.
‘Had a good time? Sounds like it.’
‘Yes mum, Miss Jones is lovely and she makes everything so interesting. Today we acted the story of Jesus feeding thousands of people.’
‘If you go and make a start on your school homework, I’ll bring a drink through and you can tell me more about the story.’
Since Maddie had lost John a year ago, through the war in Iraq, it was having Jennie that had kept her sane. She had gone through the grief stage and was now seething with anger. She was angry with world leaders who start wars and let others fight them and stay safe themselves. She was angry with God for not keeping John from harm. She even struggled to keep at bay anger toward John for leaving them bereft of him.
A little while later Maddie requested, ‘Tell me more about your play acting story.’
‘Well, Miss Jones gave us some pieces of bread and some paper fishes, and she brought some baskets – ones like yours. Some of us had to break off bits of bread and others tore bits off their paper fish to share them out, so that we all had something to eat – just pretend food, we didn’t really eat it.’
Jennie had a sip of her hot chocolate and continued, ‘Then we had to collect all the food into the baskets. Miss Jones said that Jesus made them grow into more pieces until there was enough food in the baskets for them all to take a packed lunch home with them.’
‘Sounds interesting, did you remember to sweep the crumbs up?’ joked Maddie.
‘We also sang the giant song and did actions to it. Every week we sing this song and take it in turns to be David. Miss Jones calls a boy “David the giant killer” and a girl “Davina the giant killer”. Whoever plays David goes out front and throws stones at us and we all fall down.’
‘I hope they’re just pretend stones like the paper fish,’ stated Maddie.
‘Yes mum they are and we don’t have to sweep them up.’
‘Your Sunday School class sounds very interesting – I’m glad you’re enjoying it.’
‘Mum, every week someone finishes off in prayer – we do it in turns and Miss Jones gives a sweet to the one whose turn it is – it was me this week! I prayed that Jesus would be our friend and that he would look after us.’
That night when Maddie had gone to bed she cast her mind back to when she had attended Sunday School. Her teacher had been a Mrs Jackson. Like Jennie she had enjoyed those times even though Mrs Jackson had been more traditional in her approach.
She remembered how, when she first started there and Mrs Jackson had talked about Jesus as if she knew him, she had asked, ‘Will your friend Jesus come and see us in Sunday School sometime?’ She had asked this question because Teacher (as she was sometimes called) talked about Jesus in a way that had made her think he was a neighbour or a close friend.
One Sunday Mrs Jackson did bring someone along. He was called Mr Evans and he had told them about Jesus and that Jesus could be their friend. They had just to invite him into their hearts as they would ask someone into their homes. She remembered how she had put her hand up and asked Jesus into her life.
After that she had felt happy but by the time she reached fifteen she had stopped going to Sunday School. She thought to herself, ‘I’ve completely neglected Jesus in my life and I could do with a friend like him just now.’
She addressed Jesus, ‘I’m sorry that I’ve neglected you for all these years – never giving you much thought. Now that John’s gone, Jennie and I need a helping hand. Will you be with us and help us? Amen.’
A wonderful peace flooded her soul; she felt loved by her Lord. She praised, ‘Thank you Jesus – thank you so much for your wonderful presence and love.’
Before she drifted off into a deep sleep, it was as if Jesus whispered, ‘I will always be with you.’
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