"Who here has been hurt by someone?" I asked of the small faces looking back at me from their teetering wooden benches in the small front yard, our only light a small bulb hanging from some wires in the trees.
Every hand went up, some of them raised both.
"Who here has wanted to get back at them?" Again all hands flew in the air, this time they cheered as well.
Excellent, I had picked a great topic for my first time leading this small group of kids who are hungry to learn about Jesus. Revenge.
I had no idea at that point how much 'hands' would play into my teaching that night.
I continued on with the lesson, reading from Romans 12:19-21. The theme of the reading was that revenge is not a good idea, that we should approach evil with good and leave the discipline of God's children up to God. By trying to seek revenge we are telling God we can do a better job than He can.
I had been told they loved visual lessons, object lessons. I had practiced my lesson earlier that day, after all it involved fire so better safe than sorry.
I lit a small piece of paper on fire which was perched on the rusty lid of an old paint can.
As the small fire burned I said, "This represents the hurt that someone brings to you".
For the next part of the lesson, I poured alcohol into the bottle cap, we had decided that would be safer than pouring from the bottle.
I took the capful of alcohol and said, 'this liquid represents revenge' I poured it on the fire which immediately got large and dramatic and HOT. The crowd ooh'd and aww'd.
Wow, I thought, I must have gotten my hand too close it's hot, why is my hand STILL SO HOT?!!
Pause to look down.
My father was a firefighter for twenty-three years, so one would think I would know how to handle the situation. I had a cup of water next to me, but I needed that for the end of the lesson, so did I stop drop and roll? Nope. I shook that hand, adding more oxygen to the fire. Eventually my mad waving and the fact that I had burned off all the alcohol caused the fire to cease.
The kids were laughing and yelling and basically finding the whole thing quite exciting.
Like anyone with stage acting experience I continued on without skipping a beat, and looked up to find a wide eyes audience looking back at me, some still giggling.
I smiled, and wondered how badly I had just burned my hand.
I took my small cup of water and said, 'this water represents love and kindness' and poured it on the fire. The crowd cheered as the fire was quickly extinguished, evil had been conquered by good, and their new small group leader had made an impression they would not soon forget.
How do I top that this week?