Thursday, June 9, 2016
It’s finally here, vacation bible school week! We feel like the mothers of the bride, just before the wedding. We are constantly monitoring the weather forecasts, double checking our to-do lists, finalizing with vendors and volunteers, and we have our fingers crossed that we have not forgotten anything. Nothing is certain until the event actually starts. Invitations were sent a few months ago, now we must wait for the kids to show up. After all, all of our preparation and planning all comes down to what this means for the kids - how can we engage them in the lessons, the crafts, the games?
This is the first year that there is no charge for a child to attend VBS at Faith! It is our hope to make this a true outreach project of our ministry. Children made invitations to invite their friends from school. We want children from across the community to attend VBS, even if they can only come for one or two nights. We want children who have never attended church here to feel loved, to feel welcomed here, to make new friends and grow friendships that may have already started at school.
In the gospel lesson this week we will learn about the woman who cleaned Jesus’ feet. She was not invited to the dinner at Simon’s house, but went anyway to meet Jesus and show him love. While she was the least “desirable” guest, she showed the greatest hospitality to Jesus.
Hospitality is a common theme during VBS. Of the over 125 children attending, some of the kids are members, arriving full of confidence and knowing many people here. Others may be preschool students or members of our community attending Vacation Bible School for the very first time. But amazingly, they all come to VBS with open hearts, with the desire and ability to faithfully and happily jump into new friendships and new experiences. Are we as adults that open? How quickly do we offer our hand to someone we have never met on Sunday morning? Do we have to wait for an invitation to join that bible study or volunteer for an event; and are we inviting new faces to participate or are we more comfortable asking those we know will say yes?
The challenge is for us all to learn from the woman in the Gospel and from our children when it comes to our level of hospitality, to jump in headfirst like our kids, without fear, to welcome new people, new experiences, and to do it with our hearts full of Jesus’ love for us. Let’s start with VBS. We think the most uplifting part is the closing celebration (which begins each night at 7:40). If you have ever witnessed the sanctuary full with over 125 children singing and dancing you will know you have seen God’s love in action. We invite you to come, join us and witness God’s love and the hospitality of our children! They make it seem so easy!
Ericka Weber and Andrea Stone, Interim Directors of Children and Family Ministry