VBS week is always a highlight of my year.
This morning, as Pastor Schaun was in the process of asking 500+ kids in the main worship rally to bow their heads and silently offer a prayer from their heart, the little boy next to me bowed his head and said his beautiful, honest, heart-felt prayer aloud. I couldn't help but reach out and put my hand on his back, joining him in prayer.
And as I taught my Bible story today, all of the kids were engaged with incredibly insightful questions and answers. They were so curious (and a little grossed out) about the woman who cleaned Jesus' feet with her tears, oil and hair. But mostly they were amazed by just how repentant she was and how much she loved Jesus. We had wonderful discussions about faith, Jesus' forgiveness and love, and the peace that comes with it.
"Your sins are forgiven...Your faith has saved you; go in peace." Luke 7:48-50
Among the many obvious church-goers who are familiar with various Bible stories, there is one boy in particular who does not fall into that category. Yesterday he asked for a Bible to take home with him. Today, he had loads of questions. As I was sharing the story of the woman washing Jesus' feet, he interrupted with a very important question... "She did all this for a baby?" I explained that by this time Jesus was a grown man, probably about 30 years old. My response set the scene for many questions.
"If Jesus is God's son, does that make Mary God's wife?" "Did Jesus die?" "What do you mean, he died on a cross?" "Why did they kill him?" "Well, gee... They didn't have to KILL him." "Are heaven and hell the same place?" "Is there food in heaven? Water in hell?" "Is hell under ground?" "Why did the wise men bring Jesus gifts?" "Why was perfumed oil so special?" "People say that God and Jesus are the same person. How is that possible?" "Yesterday you said God created the world. Who created God?"
What an amazing gift it is to be a part of these moments. Getting to pray with a child who already has so much faith, gratitude and confidence that praying aloud while surrounded by 500+ people didn't seem strange. And getting to answer exciting questions offered up by a 7 year old who knows a little about the Baby Jesus, but almost nothing about the grown man whose ministry changed the world and will never cease to save lives.
These conversations do not happen with complete strangers as part of everyday life. It makes me wish that every day could be a VBS day.
Today I pray especially for those kids at VBS who do not know Jesus. I pray that their teachers see their faces and hear their questions. I pray that amidst all the chaos and schedules to be kept, that opportunities to talk and answer questions do not get missed. I pray that every kid meets Jesus this week.