I gush every year about Vacation Bible School. Brace yourself…here it comes.
We have just finished our VBS. I’m hyper in my head, but only in my head…the rest of me is pooped. I’ve been sore every day and walk like a really old woman. I am exhausted and I stink…I’ve been on the preschool music team.
For two hours each night, we have clapped hands, stomped feet, waved our arms, given high-fives, spun around, marched in place and yelled ‘Amen!’ We did the twist at times, too. We sang “God So Loved the World”, “The Father Loves Me”, “Jesus Loves You and Me”, “Jesus Loves Me Every Day” and “God Loved Us”. We had stand up songs with motions, and then we did songs where we sat in the floor. (The ‘in the floor’ songs were necessary to catch our breath.) While sweat poured down my back each night, my helpers didn’t flinch. I’m pretty sure they’ve been doing Zumba or were dancers in the past.
This year, my very favorite song, was an oldie and may surprise you. The little ones were excited when they found out it was from the 1900’s-before they were born.
I asked our kiddies if they had noticed how all our songs talked about someone loving us. They had! “God!” cheered some, while others yelled “Jesus!” “That’s right!” I said.
I told them Jesus loves us so much that His love is very deep. I asked if they could stretch their arms to show what ‘deep’ looked like. Then I told them that Jesus’ love is wide, drawing my words and arms out. “Can you show me ‘wide’?” I asked. They did. Next, I said, “Jesus’ love is like a fountain that keeps running and running. Can you show me some water?” I made waving motions with my fingers.
We started singing “Deep and Wide” and it melted my heart. It’s a song I’ve known my whole life-one I’ve taken for granted. It was new to many of our kiddies and I think that was what touched me so much. I had to close my eyes to keep from crying. Their faces were angelic and filled with wonder. They sang with all their hearts! It was breath-taking.
After the first verse, we didn’t say the word “deep”. I told them they were grounded from saying it and they loved it. (Most of them haven’t ever been grounded yet.) Instead, we just made an “mmmmm” sound. Some of them said it tickled their lips. Next, they were grounded from saying “wide”. They “mmmm-ed” their way through it, too. I still have no idea who came up with that idea-to substitute “mmmm” for the other words-but it’s so cute. None of the little ones asked why, we just all did it together.
We used DVDs and CDs, but it was the songs without music they loved most. We did a Jesus Hokey Pokey that was super. “You put your right hand in, take your right hand out, put your right hand in, and shake it all about. When you give your heart to Jesus He will turn your life around. That’s what it’s all about!” They loved putting their head, thumbs, elbows, knees and whole selves “in”! (The knees were tricky!)
We sang one song after another as quick as we could, getting the most out of our time together. We left the music room, sweaty, but with hearts full of joy. Everyone squeezed together at the end of our time for a big hug and a short prayer. We giggled as we bunched up. Nobody said, “Ooooh, yuck! You’re wet!” They would have been talking to me.
With kids, Jesus’ love is easy. He loves them and they think it’s awesome. They believe it, accept it, and there you go. When we become adults, we make it more complicated.