We’ve just finished one of the most tiring weeks of the year -- Vacation Bible School week! We welcomed over 120 children for fun, worship and learning. To pull everything off, it took more than 60 volunteers, tons of paint, lots of rice krispie treats, and more energy than a thousand hamsters on their running wheels in the middle of the night. But in the end, it’s all worth it because Vacation Bible School is a glimpse of heaven.
A glimpse of heaven??? Have I lost my mind? Don’t stop reading yet. Give me a chance to explain.
At the beginning of VBS week, adult anxieties dominate the day. Will all the volunteers show up? Have I printed everything I needed to print? Will we have enough supplies for all the kids? Will the audio visuals work? Has the carpet in the fellowship hall been vacuumed? The need for a perfect presentation is of utmost importance.
But little by little (literally), priorities change. Each child offers a glimpse of love, humility and God’s kingdom on earth. New friendships begin. Little minds are engaged in learning. Children serve others with passion. They try new things. They pray to God out loud in front of everyone! They dance. They love! It’s absolutely amazing.
In Matthew 18, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
A week at VBS helps clarify Jesus’ words. And children help us remember what is important.
Unlike today, in Jesus’ time, children had no status in society. They were a responsibility and nothing more. Children were dependent on adult family members for everything. And for Jesus to lift children up in this manner was shocking, to say the least.
Note that Jesus does not say we need to have faith like a child. Instead, He says we need to change and become like children. We need to let go of status and humble ourselves. We need to try new things and make new friends. We need to depend on God more than on our own doing. We need to be open to learning new things. We need to want to help each other. We need to worship God like no one is watching. But most of all, we need to love -- God and each other.
One of our VBS songs was “Build Your Kingdom Here” by Rend Collective. I’ve reprinted one of the verses and the chorus below. After experiencing VBS this week, I have renewed hope that with the example and help of children we can surely build God’s kingdom here on earth. VBS was a glimpse of heaven!
Select Lyrics from Build Your Kingdom Here by Rend Collective
We seek Your kingdom first
We hunger and we thirst
Refuse to waste our lives
For You're our joy and prize
To see the captive hearts released
The hurt, the sick, the poor at peace
We lay down our lives for Heaven's cause
We are Your church
And we pray revive
This earth (We're prayin' for revival)
Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here