Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Answer to Existential Angst: Vacation Bible School!

For the past several weeks, I've been waking up in the middle of the night worried about all sorts of aspects of the home buying process: inspections and money, primarily. One night this past week, I woke up in a panic because I hadn't bought paper plates for Vacation Bible School. I reminded myself that I still have time, and I drifted back to sleep.

I don't need paper plates because I'm in charge of the food.  I need them because I'm in charge of Arts and Crafts.  Yes, I did a good enough job last year that they asked me to come back this year.  Either that, or nobody else wanted to do it.

This week-end is the time to get all my supplies together. I'm mostly there.

We are using the pre-packaged curriculum with the theme of Kingdom Rock.  Some nights we'll be doing crafts that tie into the theme.  Other nights, we're not.  I keep in mind that last year I had lessons that I hoped to impart with the crafts, but I had to spend so much time quelling chaos that I never mentioned the larger lesson.

Here's what we'll be doing:

On Monday, we'll play with clay.  This project was such a success last year that I had to repeat it this year.  We'll use the paper plates both as the creations are being made and as a platform where the creations will dry.  The lesson:  God shapes us, as if we're the clay.  And VBS will shape us too.

On Tuesday, we'll decorate paper crowns.  This fits with the overall lesson of the day.  I worry a bit that this activity won't take long enough.  I worried about the same thing last year, but never had a problem.

On Wednesday, we'll make string beads together to make prayer beads; we're Lutherans, so we won't call them rosaries.  We'll also write prayers on strips of cloth and paste them around the bulletin board that shows a castle that's part of the decorations for the week.

On Thursday, we'll paint.  We'll paint the clay creations, and we'll paint on paper.  My sister's best piece of advice last year was that she had never met a child who didn't like to paint.

On Friday, we'll decorate T-shirts.  Children can bring their own or buy one from me.  We'll be using markers only so that everyone can take their T-shirt home.  Last year I had fabric paints, which meant we needed to have space for them to dry (along with everything else that was drying:  the clay and the painted pictures).  We need cardboard so that the paint didn't soak through.

So, what do I still need before the week begins?  Paper plates, beads, and as the week progresses and people place orders for T-shirts, I'll make sure we have enough.

Although it's exhausting, I'm looking forward to it.  I know that for some of our church's children, VBS is the favorite thing we do all year.  It's also one of our big outreach opportunities:  we see kids from the community who we don't see at any other time of the year.

But I'll be honest here:  I'm looking forward to it because it's come to be one of the favorite church activities all year for me too.  I love the camaraderie that comes from working with the other adults; it's a closeness that lasts all year.  I love feeling like I'm part of a team that's working well.  I love the enthusiasm of the children.  It makes me happy to be leading activities where I see instant appreciation.

I spend a lot of my work life involved in activities which don't have that instant satisfaction.  VBS is an antidote to my existential angst. 

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