Principal's First Principles: Crossing the Red Sea

I wish you’d been there at yesterday’s outdoor Primary Chapel. Pastors Annalise and JP led the children in an interactive drama, dotted with narrative and song to illustrate the biblical account of the Children of Israel. I watched from the hillside over Field 2 as the chaplains brought groups of children into the story. From their seated position on the bank overlooking the field (like tiered seating in an amphitheater) they joined the action 'onstage', and helped to represent the drama that occurred in another place and time. The children became the place markers, participants, and observers of the hardships experience by the Israelites during their time in Egyptian slavery, then their victorious escape through the dry bed of the Red Sea.

It was truly touching to see God's plan played out for his followers. By choosing Jesus, the Israelites chose joy. And we too can experience true joy despite the 'impossible.'

Let me paint a picture for you from my bird’s eye view on the hill.... First, our youngest students were led onto the oval and asked to wave their arms to illustrate the waves of the Red Sea. They would provide the setting for our drama. Once in position, Pr Annalise then directed an entire year level of children to stand up. They represented the Israelites, and she led them on a weaving journey through the children still seated on the bank. All the while, she described the hardship and some of the major crisis points in the four centuries of Israelite slavery.

Finally, the story gets to a point in time when the Israelites face a very big decision: whether to trust God’s plan, or not—whether to take His offer of freedom. It would not be easy. They were terrified. They knew that Pharaoh did not want them to leave and he was a brutal ruler with a track record of cruelty.

Interwoven into the narrative were songs. The chaplains controlled the sound station remotely, playing backing tracks for songs that illustrated each plot point. Together, they led the children and their teachers in singing and performing the actions to these songs.

After the Israelites came to the decision to follow God’s plan and leave captivity with Moses, their appointed leader, they encountered what seemed like a final, impossible hurdle—the vast Red Sea blocked their escape to freedom! The remaining students played the Egyptian army, led by 'Pharaoh' (Pr JP), to force the Israelites back into captivity! There the Israelites were, trapped between our own little ‘Red Sea’ and the army that was rapidly closing the distance!

And then, a miracle! The waves of the 'Red Sea' parted at Moses’ command. The Children of Israel crossed the dry seabed before the waves closed again, this time over the Egyptians' heads. The Israelites were free! And the Egyptians were finally defeated.

In one incredible moment, the final song. Forming a big circle, the children and their teachers sang of triumph.

I am so incredibly grateful, as principal of this College, to see such original, creative, and meaningful programs. This Chapel illustrated again to me—and to our children—the truth of how God cares for His people, how choosing Jesus brings true joy into our lives, and how choosing Jesus won’t exclude us from experiencing hardship, but will lift us through hard times.

Thank you, pastors Annalise and JP, for another incredible spiritual experience.

Principal's First Principles is a blog series from BAC Principal, Mr Peter Charleson.