We usually have the Sunday after VBS as a VBS themed Sunday--the kids sing, there's no sermon, and after the service there's a waterslide (the bounce house kind) and lunch (a way to use up extra kid food from the week).
Earlier this week, the bishop of the ELCA called for this Sunday to be a day of repentance and mourning: repentance for our culpability with the culture of racism and mourning for the 9 martyred in Charleston. At first glance, it didn't seem a good fit with VBS Sunday, but our pastor decided to try.
And to make the Sunday even more interesting, a couple wanted to affirm their wedding vows. They're a couple with a delightful child--the family had once been members of the church and come back every year for VBS, and this year, the father/husband could come too.
How did these elements work together? Well, at first we experienced the joy of the VBS songs and Bible readings. Then we moved to the liturgy of repentance and mourning. From there, we wished each other peace, took up the offering, and celebrated the Eucharist. And then, after the joy of the Eucharist, we had a marriage renewal.
As we went along, our pastor reminded us that this is what life with the Lord looks like. We will not immediately defeat death, but it can be faced with grace. In any life, there will be grief, but there will also be joy. We have assurance that God is with us in both our joy and suffering.
It was a great service, although I do wonder what our large number of visitors thought of the service. Maybe they, too, were moved. Maybe they just wanted to move through it so that they could get to the lunch afterwards. We tried to explain each part as we went along, so that visitors wouldn't be lost and confused.
With every service, a good worship planner tries to see it through both the eyes of the long-attending member and the visitor. I think we did a good job.
feeling the feelings…
1 year ago