Theological Equations and Children

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imageThis weekend was VBS at my church. It was a full two days (plus a recap tomorrow during our worship service) of games and science experiments and Bible stories. I got to wear my nerd glasses, which always gives me a sense of smartness… and a headache (plastic lenses, they’re not easy to see through).

Things I learned:

1. Kids are unpredictable, to say the least. My mom and I lead the Bible story rotation, so each age group would come to our room and hear the Bible lesson for the rotation. The three groups were: PreK, K-1st grade, and 2-4th grade. Now, who would you predict would be the most restless? Of course, the PreK kids who haven’t been bound to desk chairs in school and have boundless energy from their naps and snacks. Of course, it was the oldest kids who were the most restless and the kindergartners who were the most well-behaved. But really, everyone was pretty engaged.

2. People’s obsession with substituting numbers for words will NEVER END. The theme of the curriculum we used was “SonSparks Labs,” so it was sciencey and chemistry oriented. We had a science experiment to illustrate the concepts from the Bible stories we were teaching, which were actually pretty cool and good visuals. But of course, the takeaways were written on posters like this: “GOD’S PLAN IS 2 LOVE US 4-EVER.” Do people think this is cooler than letters? Is it suppose to be relatable? I don’t understand. But it’s a real obsession.

3. There’s always something new to be gotten from the story of God’s love for humanity. I listened to my mom tell the story of the fall three times on Friday night, told the story of Jesus paying the penalty for our sins and rising from the dead on Saturday three times, and heard the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit three times on Saturday afternoon. And with each story something new would stick out. When I told those kids about Jesus and his love for him, the story didn’t feel old. I guess that’s what it means that the word of God is “living and active.”

4. VBS songs are catchy. Few words, repetition, and a three-note variation in the melody means that they’re ringing in my head. And they will be probably all week.

5. The Bible is God’s word. And it’s true. Our room was called the “Story Center,”and my mom, being quite aware that kids hear stories all the time, most of which are fiction, wanted to be very sure the kids knew we fit in the nonfiction category. “This story comes from Genesis, which is in the Bible. The Bible is God’s word, and it’s true.” Then later, “Can someone read this verse from the Bible? … which is true.” I think I was the only one conscious of the repetition, and it was a good thing to do. It made me chuckle to myself. Now I’m reminded, too.

As tiring as it is to corral and teach kids for even a day, it’s rewarding. Even when they don’t raise their hands and pray the prayer, you can just tell that they’re at least getting a piece of the story that has changed the lives of so many people. I leave the experience hoping that it plants seeds of faith in their lives.

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