Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Vacation Bible School--First Day Report

I'm happy to say that the first evening of Vacation Bible School went well. We painted T-shirts as our Arts and Crafts project, an idea fraught with peril (or fraught with paint, at least). But it went well. I was most impressed with how the older kids helped the younger kids.

In our church, VBS seems to be quite the effort. Whole families are involved. We serve dinner, have music sessions, rhythm sessions, Bible study, story time, and Arts and Crafts. There's an opening service and a closing service each night. Even the teenagers come to help with the process.

I hadn't thought of VBS as a route to spiritual formation in that way. I assumed that the young kids who participated would have some sort of spiritual formation. But it's quite wonderful to see the older teens actually taking over parts of the process: leading classes, leading worship, that kind of thing.

Last night, my Arts and Crafts leader said, "You should go see the closing service. I'll clean up. I've seen the closing service before."

I walked towards the sanctuary, looking forward to what I thought would be a quiet, Compline like service (my favorite one when I'm at Mepkin Abbey). I envisioned candles and dim light, maybe some plainsong or Taize.

Ha!!! I opened the door to the brightly lit sanctuary, with children having a shouting/singing contest. It was the most nerve-jangling thing I've experienced in quite some time. I can't imagine taking one of those children home and trying to get ready for bedtime. Maybe I'm missing the point. Maybe that's why we do these things during vacation: so that we don't have to worry about bedtimes and school the next morning.

When I returned home, my spouse asked me if I had fun, and I had to say that I did. I said, "It's not the kind of fun where I'll say in October, 'Oh, I wish it was VBS time again.' But yeah, it was neat."

I wonder if people think it's strange that I'm helping, even though I don't have children. I'm not going to worry too much about that. I think that one of the advantages of church is that, ideally, all sorts of people mix together: all class levels, all ages, all races, those with children/relatives locally, and those alone. We're all part of a mission, and all talents are welcome. At least, that's how it should be. And in this church, I frequently experience that missional outlook.

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