We had Vacation Bible School at our church this past week. This was my first year at this church to observe all the work and effort that goes into this annual event. Wow! There were men and women who took vacation to help provide this experience for the children, not just of our church, but of the entire area. I've never seen such elaborate sets and costumes for every participant. Weeks of preparations and planning culminated in a Bible School that was spectacular and successful.
One of the scenes in our little village was 'Mary's House.' A retired minister played Mary and Mary had a friend/neighbor named Eunice. Mary would tell the story of Jesus and Eunice would attempt to convince the children that Jesus was just Mary's son, a very nice person but no son of God. After two days of visiting the village, a young girl took it upon herself to teach Eunice a few things. She let her know, in no uncertain terms, that Jesus was the son of God and that he died not only for all of us but for Eunice too. It brought my friend, "Eunice," to tears to have such a young person so vehemently pronounce this kind of faith. Yesterday the little girl gave 'Eunice' the clay pot that she had made in the village of Nazareth again reminding her that God and his son, Jesus, loved her. I didn't have the honor of meeting this little girl's parents but I would have loved to congratulate them on the 'training up' of their child.
I'd love to see this girl again in several years. My hope is that she will still be as strong in her convictions then as she is now, but life has a way of changing us sometimes. I hope that she remains strong of character.
The children met a Pharisee and a Tax Collector and their Rabbi at the Jewish school. They spent the week trying to convince them that they should change their ways and understand the message of Jesus. It was life-affirming to watch these young people not only learn about God and his son, Jesus, but to put that knowledge into practice in their lives. I wonder how it will translate outside of our little church village into their everyday lives. As they stood in our sanctuary and sang their songs of praise yesterday, I must admit that a lump came to my throat. God must have been smiling down on that glorious scene! I couldn't help but be reminded of the scripture, "Have faith like a child's."
All of the adults were exhausted after the activities of the week and those leading up to it. I'm certain the youth and children were as well, but my hope is that all of our lives will be a little different, a little better, because of this week. I know that it has renewed in me a vigor to remain close to these children and to do my best work to keep them close to God.
I thank God for the reminder! I thank the children for all the love, hope and dreams!