i have a confession to make: i do not particularly like vbs (that's vacation bible school for all of you who don't speak churchish). i try my best to put on my best face and conjure up some emotional energy, but the idea of dozens of sweaty children screaming and running around the church halls is daunting to me, at least. suffice to say that it is not my favorite part of church work.
that being said, i do love the energy that the children bring each year, and the enthusiasm. it is a unique opportunity, from my perspective, to spend some quality time with our youngest people, offering them some ideas and pictures about what this Christian life is all about. this year, as in the past several, i am the vbs "floater," which means i walk around the facility and help out wherever needed. today i have been recruited to work in the missions area, which means i will be helping kids stuff these little turtles.we'll be sending them to honduras, eventually, so that children there can receive them. the hope today is that the children will begin to understand that there are people - children - who need to know that they are loved; who need to be prayed for; who need to be fed and taught and loved. these are the kind of seeds that we are trying to sow this week, hoping that some of these little kernels of truth find a good home in one of these sweaty, sugar-charged children.
yesterday, for example, they were taught that God is with us and so we do not need to be afraid. everytime they heard someone say, "God is with us," they were to respond with a boisterous, "FEAR NOT!" last night as we were in the car with four children (jack and cade and their cousins), they were doing this little call and response with ear-shattering enthusiasm. i think that's awesome. who's to say that they won't remember that at some moment when fear is threatening to get the best of them? who's to say that a shouted mantra won't come back to give quiet comfort and hope? who's to say that a stuffed turtle with a child's scribbled name on it won't spread love? who's to say that a week of sweaty screaming children won't just change some young lives?
and so i'm pulling on my crocodile dock t-shirt and getting ready for some turtle-stuffing. God is with us. FEAR NOT!