Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Let me tell you something in your ear!"

A few weeks ago my church hosted its annual Vacation Bible School.  Two things usually happen whenever I assist with a VBS: first, I am reminded that God calls very special people to children’s ministry and I am NOT one of them; and second, I see children speak the most profound truths of our Christian faith. 

There were two times that week where I was moved to tears as I watched these kids learn and sing about God.  Much to my chagrin I was recruited to assist with the music for the week.  In typical church fashion, if the music minister hears you are a singer or play an instrument you will be conscripted to share your talents with the church… no matter how many times you say no.  Such was my fate as a singer.  In spite of my reluctance I am now quite glad I helped with music, because God showed up during a music lesson with the third and second grade students!  We were practicing a song called “Children of the World” where the kids sing about how Alleluia is the only word that sounds the same in every language.  I could feel God’s presence as the kids sang the refrain of Alleluia over and over again.  The other teacher and I had tears in our eyes as we ushered the kids out of the room after the song.  We looked at each other and knew we had just experienced the purest, most genuine form of worship.  I pray those kids had some idea of what they were part of that morning!

The second moment happened Friday morning as we got the kids in the sanctuary for the closing concert.  I sat with the four year olds and tried to help their teachers keep them from wandering around the pews.  Next to me were two especially squirmy kids.  The little girl wanted to sit closer to the little boy, and he resisted her advances by saying, “snap out of it!”  This is obviously a phrase he picked up at home or on T.V.  After this went back and forth for a couple of minutes, the little girl was hurt that the little boy did not reciprocate her affections.  Then the little boy said, “Let me tell you something in your ear!”  She leaned in and he loudly whispered to her, “God is love.”  You can have all of the trendy t-shirts, fun games, high-tech videos, and delicious snacks at VBS you want; but they do not mean anything if the kids walk away without knowing that God is love!  Too often we get wrapped up in the entertainment value of worship that we miss the point.  We are here to give praise, honor, and glory to the God who created the universe and loves us.  In return, we are to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.  Alleluia!