Last week, I had the opportunity to do something incredible. For the first time in my life, I had the joy of attending Vacation Bible School. And while it’s true that you can’t go back in time and be a kid again, I was able to experience VBS through the kids, learn through their wonder and laugh with them in their joy – It really was quite exhausting, but so worth the time. The church I work for asked me to take pictures and put together a little slide show presentation for the last evening. Endeavoring to improve my skill at photographing people, I said yes.
So last Monday through Thursday evenings, while pretending to be the VBS photographer, I was really a grown up kid attending Vacation Bible School. Everyone – kids and their families and the volunteers – gathered for dinner at 5:30 p.m. where there was lots of fellowship and great kid-friendly food to be had. (Just a side note – I had my first corn dog ever Tuesday night! It was interesting. I would have to say that I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either.) At 6 p.m. we all began to gather in the Sanctuary for singing and then off to the different activities over the next 90 minutes. The kids were divided into age groups and the groups rotated between crafts, games or science, storytelling, and music. All the activities related to the theme and at the end of the week, the kids took home a bag full of toys and projects which they made as reminders of their time at VBS. We also had a 3 year old group who stayed in one room as the volunteers provided all the activities in an age appropriate format. Then we all gathered in the Sanctuary again. The kids shared their God-sightings: something that happened that evening that they knew God was involved in like meeting a new friend, or learning something about God and one night we even saw a bald eagle flying over the church. They also learned about sharing God’s love through Operation Kid to Kid. They learned about mosquitoes and malaria and how they can share God's love and save other kids’ lives by pulling together their change and their parent’s dollars to purchase specially-treated mosquito nets for children in the African country of Mali. What a joy it was to see them give their pennies and dollars with great big smiles on their faces, knowing that they were helping other kids just like themselves.
The one thing that is seared in my brain forever is the incredibly addictive chant the 3 year olds shouted as they traveled from the Sanctuary to the Preschool, from the Preschool to the playground, and from the playground back to the Sanctuary…TRUST IN GOD! TRUST IN GOD! TRUST IN GOD! TRUST IN GOD! VBS taught us that everything is possible with God (Mark 10:27) so no matter who you are …trust God! No matter how you feel …trust God! No matter what people do…trust God! And no matter what happens…trust God! This is one of those truths, I think, that we, as human beings, have to learn over and over again. It’s not that we don’t get it the first or second time, but it is something we need to experience time and again to 1) convince us it’s really true and 2) show us the depth of trust we can have in God. Not that God has ever deserved our distrust – but I believe we are born with our ability in tack to trust wholly and, day after day, life situations and the humans around us give us reasons to distrust until we forget what it is to truly trust undeniably and wholeheartedly, even in God. Once trust is lost – it is almost impossible to get back. Trusting wholeheartedly, without doubt, in God no matter what is a hard truth to absorb and we need to hear it again and again for it to overcome the distrust this fallen world has instilled in us. So I guess I can report my own God-sighting for the week as a group of innocent three-year-olds happily marching about the campus screaming TRUST IN GOD! TRUST IN GOD! TRUST IN GOD! TRUST IN GOD! May it echo in my heart, and yours, forever.
About the pictures: