Rotation.org Writing Team
Paul and the Bright Light
The "Bright Light" Cooking Workshop
Summary of Activities
Picking up on the imagery of the road to Damascus and "Straight" Street found in the story, students will construct, bake in a (real) oven, label, discuss, and then eat a "map of the story" that ends in a pool of baptismal blueberries.
As a reflection option, they will also shape dough to represent their self/faith, and bake it in simple "bright light box" oven to reflect on how their own encounter with and call from Christ should, like it did for Paul, give rise to their own ministry as one of Christ's disciples.
Scripture for the Lesson
Acts 9:1-22, the story of Saul's encounter with Christ on the Road to Damascus
See the Bible Background at rotation.org for this set's complete list of objectives.
This workshop's aim is to create a strong sensory memory of the story through sight, smell, touch, taste, and use it to examine where WE are in our "conversion story." The Bible Background for this lesson set has a lot of insights and extra questions to stoke the teacher's input in the nooks and crannies of this cooking workshop.
Preparation and Materials
- Read the Bible Background and scripture.
- Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, 1 can per map/sheet and 1 extra roll for "Dough Persons"
- 1/3 stick of butter per map/can of dough
- cinnamon sugar
- blueberries for the baptism location on your map
- Pizza cutters (2 per cookie sheet)
- Spatula and hotpads
- Cookie sheets (1 per map)
- Use an oven to bake the map
- Use a "bright light oven" to bake the dough people (baking dish and clamp lamp with 150 watt bulb)
- Cooking spray
- Have a large piece of white paper for each groups map
The dough map seen in this lesson plan was made with 1 can of crescent roll dough.
You can fit 1 map per cookie sheet.
3 students can work on 1 map with 1 roll of dough. Thus, if you have 6 students, make 2 maps and double all of the above ingredients, and so on.
See the photographs at the END of this lesson for assembly and baking tips.
As with most Cooking Workshops, your study and discussion will be interspersed with your assembly and baking time. Get started early and keep it moving.
Welcome your students and tell them how the lesson will unfold.
- First you'll read the story and make a few points.
- Then you'll lead them to create an "edible map of the story" out of crescent roll dough.
- Then they'll bake a "dough person" under a Bright Light while their map is baking in a real oven.
- When everything is baked, they'll assemble, label, discuss, butter and sprinkle their creation with sugar, and enjoy.
Read the Acts 9 story of Paul and the Bright Light with your students. Depending on their age, have them participate in the reading. (Watch your time.) Remind them who "Saul" would become, the greatest Apostle. Remind them that Saul had been at the stoning of Stephen holding the coats of the murderers.
Ask: Why would Jesus want to appear to THIS GUY! Surely there must have been other more "worthy" people on the Road that day for Jesus to talk to. (What does this story tell us about Jesus' desire to reach out to sinners? The Bible Background talks about this.)
Ask: What do you think was going through Saul's mind when he realized Jesus, the one he had hated, really was the Son of God? How would you have felt?
Now let's create a map of this story!
Begin Creating and Baking the Story Map
Lay out baking sheets and unroll the dough on them. Before you give them cutting utensils, go over the idea of what their map might look like. DRAW IT on the board or table-paper, but encourage them to be creative in their own right. LIST the key parts of the Acts 9 story for them to refer to, and tell them which map items they "must" include. Remind them that they must make everything out of the dough given to them, and not to make their map pieces too small or thin as they will turn hard in the oven.
Key parts of the story to recreate as map pieces:
- Road to Damascus
- Bright Light, Voice of Christ
- Street called Straight
- Saul's Baptism and Beyond
Work quickly and have them transfer their creations to the second baking sheet which is ungreased. Place the map(s) into the oven and set the timer.
Now turn towards creating their "Dough Person" for the Bright Light Oven.
1. After you have put the baking sheet with the map in the OVEN, you will have about 10 minutes to let everyone make a "Dough Paul Person" to represent themselves and then put their dough persons under a BRIGHT LIGHT OVEN you will quickly assemble. (Don't freak about the safety. Easy Bake Ovens have been cooking with light bulbs for decades.)
It takes about 12 to 15 minutes of baking time to bake a dough person under a bright light --depending on how you set up your light oven. Thus, your "map" will come out of the real oven ahead of your dough person. If you need to accelerate your dough people baking, finish them in the real oven. Note of caution: the light oven will get hot, treat it like you would any baking project.
What you'll need to bake under a bright light:
- A baking dish
- A clamp light with a 150 watt bulb
- Place the bulb within 1 to 2 inches of the dough.
- Assign a helper to watch the dough under the light.
2. While the "Dough Paul Person" is baking, your dough map will probably be ready to come out of the oven and be ready for transferring to your table top paper. Let the kids help you transfer it and begin to assemble and label their maps.
3. About now...your Dough Paul Persons should be ready too! Take them out of their Bright Light Oven and transfer them to your tabletop.
4. Conduct a brief follow-up discussion, assuring them that after they have answered a few questions, they'll get to butter, sprinkle and eat their creation!
Complete the labeling of the map, asking them questions that lead to insights:
- "what happened there?"
- "what was Saul thinking here? or there?"
- "what was Jesus hoping would happen here, then?"
- "what were Saul's friends thinking here, and there?"
While they eat, follow up with some personal questions:
- When in your life have you felt "closest" to God (suggestions: prayer, death of a grandparent, Christmas, in nature)
- What activities here at church help people, help you feel closest to God?
- What could you do at home to listen to Jesus' voice?
- Who in our church and in your life has been like an Ananias to you?
- Where do you think you are on the Road right now?
- Stuck in the Temple wondering what all this faith stuff is about?
- Wandering towards Damascus trying to be religious?
- Hoping to encounter and hear Christ?
- Blind, confused and wondering what faith is all about?
- Seeing, believing, and ready to start telling and helping others in Jesus' name?
**Save part of your map to give to someone you care about after class.
Say: As you munch one last piece of our story today, munch on this thought, Saul had many gifts that Jesus wanted to put to good use to spread the Gospel. Saul was a determined man and a good speaker. He knew how to travel the Roman world, worshiped regularly, and he studied scripture. The only thing he needed was to believe in Jesus. You may be a wonderful person, a great student, a loving child, a good friend, and go to church regularly, —but do you believe that Jesus is your Lord, and will you serve him? That's the most important thing anyone can ever ask you, and it's the most important answer you can ever give.
Photos and Tips for the Making and Baking Process...
Below is a one can of dough unrolled onto one sheet. This is enough to make one map. Spray your sheet first, then unroll the dough. Spraying the first sheet will make the dough easier to cut, shape, and transfer to the sheet you will use for baking in the oven. Do not spray the second sheet that you will use for baking.
Form the parts of your map and place them on the second sheet. You'll assemble them in the correct story-map shape AFTER they bake.
The curved pieces represents Saul's "wrong" attitude and mistaken beliefs about Jesus that took him to Damascus. These shapes are merely ONE IDEA of how to shape dough to represent the parts of the story. You don't have to use a cross, for example, but instead, the kids could make a "bright light."
Don't over-bake the dough. It will be thinner than were you to make rolls, and thus, bake faster.
After baking, use a spatula to place the baked map pieces on a large sheet of paper that you can write on. Keep in mind that the butter and sugar will get all over this paper too.
Butter and cinnamon sugar make these rolls taste wonderful at the end of your lesson.
As we assembled the BAKED map, we labeled it with parts of the story and discussed what each meant both to Paul, ...and to us on our faith journey. It is this assembly and labeling that is a major opportunity for you to do your teaching.
Yes, that's blueberry compote for the baptism! We made arrows proceeding from Paul's baptism to represent what Paul (and we) did next after accepting Jesus.... telling others and serving him.
Right after we put the map in the oven, we started making our Dough Pauls and putting them together in our Bright Light Oven.
Resist the temptation to stick your Dough Pauls in the real oven. Baking your "Dough Paul" under bright light will be a terrific way to lock this lesson in their memory!.
Cooking under light is exotic, memorable and fun. It's also REALLY EASY. Just be sure you have a really strong bulb, 150 watts will do. Depending on your lesson timing turns out, you might be cooking your "Paul Doughs" at the same time as the map that's in the oven.
The Dough Pauls will take a bit longer. Check them after 7 minutes and every minute afterwards.
For Younger Students:
Use a Bible storybook. Rather than use words on the map, illustrate your ideas and points on the map.
Written by the Rotation.org Writing Team
Copyright 2016, Rotation.org Inc.