Years ago, I was asked to teach Sunday School at our church. A September to May obligation. I said “sure” and was promptly given the 6th grade class. We had a textbook which I was to use religiously (no pun intended). But I have to confess that from the beginning I often ad libbed. Uh oh – Petersen is going rogue . . . . .
While I stayed with the basics of the curriculum, I took liberty to discuss relevant questions within the context of the day’s chapter. And I would bring in occasional people and things to enhance the one hour class. The most memorable improv was when I conducted a Seder at the time of Passover. I enlisted the help of two Jewish friends for guidance. One gave me the blue Haggadah (the order of the Seder) which was in English and in Hebrew (I still have it). And both tutored me in this solemn ritual. They wanted to make sure I had the protocol down to a tev (or “t”).
Donna helped prepare the (almost) kosher meal. And I set the table in the 6th grade area. Plates, platters and potables (no wine). Then the students began to arrive. They looked around like – whoa! Mister Petersen is off the grid. And they sat down – and I began with an explanation of Passover. And the Seder. And its significance. And a prayer. The hour went quickly. Elijah made his obligatory appearance. The food was consumed. And I did the cleanup. I guess I did okay ’cause the next year I was asked to continue teaching 6th grade Sunday School (until finally one year I said “no mas“).
Some twenty years later, the Seder was long forgotten. Until we saw some old friends from church. And their son Eric. He walked right up to me “hello Mister Petersen!” And he immediately began to bubble about the Seder being the most memorable time of his Sunday School career. Gosh. Kinda makes me wish I hadn’t said “no mas.”