A Gem of an Idea for Summer

DSC_0979 2A couple weeks ago I did a post on ways to teach the Bible to your kids this summer.

Here’s an example – a day trip I took with a friend that helped me have a better understanding of God’s Word – the Lazzadro Museum of Lapidary Art.

A lot of kids were at the museum the day we were there, excitedly looking at the different stones.  The security guard said they also have thousands of school classes come through each year – so I know this is a subject in which many kids are interested.

Lapidary  is the art of cutting, polishing and engraving stones. If you don’t have a lapidary museum near you, check out a natural history museum or even art galleries. (Last year we visited an exhibition on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison.) If you have no museums or exhibits in your area, why not visit a jewelry store? If the store isn’t busy, the clerk might be willing to show your child samples of any jewelry in stock that represent the gems on your list.

What does this teach us?

The Bible talks a lot about jewels. Probably the two passages that are most well known include Exodus 28,  the description of the breastplate and in Revelation 21, describing the foundation of the New Jerusalem.

Both lists have twelve stones. The stones on the breastplate represent the twelve tribes. Some scholars think the foundational stones also represent the tribes, however, there are several major differences so that doesn’t really add up. In fact, scholars have applied a lot of meaning to the stones and none of them truly work. Others say, maybe the Lord created it the way He did for the beauty alone …

… because the description of the foundation of the New Jerusalem sounds breathtakingly beautiful, but I never thought about the details. Have you?

My friend and I had our list of jewels from the breastplate and foundation and walking through the museum, looking for the stones and checking them off the list was fun – even for us as adults.  What a great project for you and your kids!

  1. Make a check list  (or have your child make a list) of the stones listed in the passages below.
  2. Explain the passages to your child.
  3. Go on a treasure hunt! (Truly a treasure hunt!) See how many your kids can find. (They probably will not find all of them.)
  4. Look up on the web or in a book, pictures of the stones you didn’t find.
  5. Ask your child to draw a picture of the breastplate or the foundation using the colors of the stones.
  6. Have fun!

(Obviously this activity would be easier with personal kids rather than an entire class, however, you could do it in your ministry. You could purchase a selection of “jewels ” at Oriental Trading Company and talk about them – or you could show photos of the real jewels.)

(Know that some of the names of these stones have slightly changed over the year so what we are seeing might not be the exact look of the stones talked about in the Bible – but close.)

Exodus 28 15: “You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, in skilled work. In the style of the ephod you shall make it—of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen shall you make it. 16 It shall be square and doubled, a span its length and a span its breadth. 17 You shall set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row; 18 and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; 19 and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 20 and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold filigree. 21 There shall be twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel.

Revelation 21: The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.

Here’s some pictures I took.

 DSC_1011DSC_1009DSC_0992 2DSC_0981



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