As our society becomes more and more secularized, the children of today are less and less exposed to the Bible and the gospel message. At one time, biblical quotes and allusions to Bible stories were understood within the broader culture, but today, those references are lost or misunderstood. One misrepresentation of the concept of “church” is greatly disturbing. There are two popular songs with the theme of “church” in the lyrics, but they only belittle the traditional idea of going to church. One song says listening to music is “my church” and the other reference is all the more shocking as it equates “take me to church” with a sexual encounter.
With this onslaught of secularism, the only way to communicate the truth of the gospel is to ground the next generation in the gospel story revealed to us in the Scriptures in a way the modern child absorbs information. The things that children learn most easily are the things that are applicable to their situation, circumstance or point of view. Unconnected facts such as the dates of the early American explorers will evaporate soon after a test, but an adventurous story about an explorer or a visit to an outpost will implant a connection to that historical person that will remain in the brain.
So too we must present the story of salvation to the next generation by distilling the basic story and presenting it to them so they can retain information long term. That is the beauty of the new Great Adventure Storybook: A Walk Through the Catholic Bible. It simplifies the Bible and connect the stories and concepts to today’s world. Introducing children to the characters and themes of the Bible is one way to engage them in their growing faith life. How many of us who have gone through The Bible Timeline program as adults wish that we had learned this long ago? Children who can understand their place in the story of salvation history are better equipped to make good choices and to know that they have a part to play in the life of the Church. Making connections to Christianity is critical in raising children who remain solid in their belief in God.
As parents and educators, it is our responsibility to raise children in the instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” What better way to respond to St. Paul’s words than to teach children the story of salvation? The challenge grows greater in our modern era to find life’s meaning and a place to belong. By establishing in the hearts of children the deep love that God has for them as revealed in the story of the Bible, we can better equip them to deal with the pressures of making life’s choices.
The goal of the new Great Adventure Storybook: A Walk Through the Catholic Bible is to aid parents and educators in the quest to raise children who are familiar with their roots and appreciate the profound love of God that he revealed to humanity over time, culminating in the Incarnation of Christ. This incarnate reality is the basis for the Catholic Faith: Christ becoming human to redeem us. To better grasp this mystery, the history leading to this pivotal event should be understood. We have the privilege and responsibility to make this known to the next generation and hopefully teach them to seek for even more answers so they can be even more equipped than ourselves.
It is the basics of evangelization to teach our youth. We have the opportunity to pass on with clarity the beautiful story of salvation, which we have been entrusted to pass on. There is no one else out there who plans to explain the gospel to your children and grandchildren, so it is up to you to do it. Ascension is making available a game-changer: a storybook that follows the story of salvation using the fourteen narrative books of the Bible, the Timeline colors and periods, plus connections to the sacraments, creed, Rosary and Mass responses. We can teach the next generation what it really means to be part of the Church.