I’ve heard that some people don’t think going to church is fun. I’m thinking they just don’t go. The best stuff happens at church!
This past week was Vacation Bible School. Oh, I hope you got to go to VBS when you were a kid! I can still remember standing outside the church, lined up in classes, awaiting the exact moment to march in to “Onward Christian Soldiers”. We sat in un-cushioned pews (can you imagine?), stood, saluted and pledged to the American Flag, the Christian Flag and the Bible. We learned priceless lessons about what God had done and could still do and then washed down two Hydrox cookies with half a cup of strawberry Koolaid. It was the best!
I remember once when a new pastor came to our church. He stood at the pulpit one summer day and declared that if we ate Oreo’s at home, we should bring Oreo’s to Bible School. (He was pointing his finger so we knew he was serious.) Why, this was bizarre thinking. We looked at each other quizzically letting it roll around in our heads. No one had ever thought of it. Back in those days, before Bible School budgets, families brought all the cookies that were consumed. I was an adult at this point, but we still got 12 dozen for a dollar if we could find ‘em. We were focused on quantity instead of quality.
Brand name cookies? It was strange, but we could do this! We DID eat Oreo’s at home and by doggit…we WOULD bring Oreo’s to VBS! We had a million Oreo’s that Bible school. It was awesome.
I LOVE telling this stuff to our pediatric patients. “Way back years ago…before you were born…before your Mother was born…all we got for snack at Bible School was two cheap cookies and a little sip of Koolaid.” They look at me with horror. Oh, you know I go straight on with it…”That was before corn dogs or nachos. Did you say you had pizza? Why, I can’t imagine!”
VBS is officially the best evangelist tool of churches for the whole year. It’s so easy to invite kids to church for Bible School! There’s snacks, crafts, games, cool, hip music, and Bible stories. What’s not to love? It’s honestly the only Jesus some kids get for the whole year.
My favorite part for the last two years has been preschool music. (I can’t be a group leader since I lost a kid-no kidding. We found him, of course, and praise the Lord! Since then my beloved-the pastor-won’t let me lead a group around.)
Preschool music is just like preschool Zumba. We sang and danced with our preschoolers, their leaders and some of their parents for two hours each night. It was fabulous AND exhausting.
On the first night, we were in the middle of our last class: two and three year olds. There were at least 20 in the group. We were singing “Give Thanks to the Lord”. We clapped hands, pointed to heaven, did rolling motions and turned in circles. As I turned back around, I saw Nikki, one of my helpers, in the middle of the group helping with a little girl. I kept clapping, pointing, rolling, etc. She was helping the little girl PUT HER SHIRT BACK ON! I never stopped but was so curious. I saw Nikki moving her lips but couldn’t hear a thing over the song. Couldn’t wait to hear!
Nikki told me later that she was whispering, “You can’t take your clothes off while you’re dancing.” I’m pretty sure those are some things she will be able to take with her through life…”Give thanks to the Lord and keep your clothes on while you’re dancing”. Just sayin’.
One little girl named Maddy cracked us up. She’s four, I think. She started every sentence with, “Hey, hey…” (She talked a lot.) One night in the middle of a song, she yelled, “Hey, hey…” “Yes, Maddy?” I asked as we kept up our song motions.
“Hey, hey…my Mommy burned me with a curling iron,” she said matter-of-factly as she twisted and turned. It was just a tiny spot and her Mom had covered it with a really cool Band-Aid. All of the kids heard and wanted to see. (Her Mom assured me it was an accident and was horrified that she was still talking about it.)
One of my husband’s favorite moments-ever-was with the two year old class. He has a special time with the older classes to share the plan of salvation. With the younger kids, he makes a point to tell them that Jesus loves them. He was right down with them and told one toddler, “Adrianna, did you know that Jesus loves you?”
“Me?” she asked as she pointed to herself.
“Yes, you,” he nodded.
“Me?” mimicked Jaxson.
“Yes, you,” my beloved agreed.
“Me?” wondered Jerrika.
“Yes, you,” he said again.
The little ones went around the room with each one pointing to themselves and asking about Jesus’ love. Finally, with tears in his eyes, he ended with, “Jesus loves EVERYONE!” They all clapped.
I love that story. My beloved cries every time he tells it.
Praise the Lord for kids of all ages at Bible school. Praise the Lord for the workers and the parents who either brought their kids or allowed someone else to bring them. Praise the Lord that He loves every one of us!
All these memories make me hungry for Hydrox cookies!