These past months have been filled with so many changes. And honestly most of these changes have been so very unwelcome and difficult to accept. These changes have presented challenges and stresses. Many of us have “change fatigue” and feel like even one more change might just be one change too many.
I really and truly do understand. Change is often stressful and downright difficult.
But not all change is bad. Some changes are good – wonderful even. One change that happened this summer was a gloriously awesome success. All of the ELCA Lutheran churches in the South Central Conference in the I-K Synod (basically Louisville and Jeffersonville, IN and the surrounding areas) decided to have vacation Bible school together. Yes – we all worked together as sisters and brothers in Christ to bring the Good News of God’s love to our children! (Shocking behavior for a bunch of Christians – I know . . .)
This was an absolutely brilliant move! Less work for everyone and more fun for our kids – win – win.
VBS for the elementary and middle school aged kids has been led by the wonderfully dedicated – highly energetic – dazzlingly creative staff of Lutheran Outdoor Ministries. Seriously – I have NO idea where these 6 college aged people find their energy – because they seem to be running and jumping and playing and laughing and counting heads – all while teaching our children about God’s love – ALL OF THE TIME! They are very – very – very impressive individuals.
The LOMIK staff (Lutheran Outdoor Ministries of Indiana and Kentucky – wow do we Lutherans love our fancy/strange abbreviations) taught our kids how to eat doughnuts from strings and the story of Joseph in Egypt. They played the drums in the sanctuary and tag in the gym. They played with wild abandon and prayed with just as much passion. They jousted in the parking lot – joked over lunch and joined our children on their faith journeys. They shared God’s love and modeled incredible patience and pretended to be dragons!
I was so impressed and so thankful and feel so blessed by this experience. There were so many smiles and there was so much laughter! It was a really – really good week!
Another blessing of this week has been spending time with other Lutherans. I love – love – love my Saint Stephen church family. You are “my people” – but I delighted in getting to know other Lutherans better and meeting new folks too. It was a delight and a joy to hang out with folks from other Lutheran churches. I had wonderful conversations this week.
It is lovely to be reminded that there are other Lutherans out there in the world. That we are not the only ones. That we aren’t some strange rare breed. Nope – we are not alone. We have friends! We have sisters and brothers in Christ who also “speak Lutheran!” It was fun to meet the impressive servants of our Lord whose names I see on emails and hear my pastor colleagues chat/BRAG about. (Don’t worry – I totally brag about you guys too!)
I was the “crafty pastor/lady” this week for the preschool kids. I spent my week playing with 3 – 4 – and 5 year olds. We played with stickers and crayons and beads and markers. We made crowns and necklaces and celebration streamers and ate a little chocolate to keep our strength up. We talked about God’s love and got to know each other just a bit. I absolutely fell in love with each and every single one of them! I always do . . .
I had soooooo much fun hanging out with these lovely – determined – busy – smiling – chatty – kind – welcoming – trusting – lovely – incredibly energetic human beings.
I gave thanks for Tammy Kissling again and again and again. Tammy is the part-time youth leader for the South Central Conference – but there was absolutely NOTHING part-time about her role in VBS. She was on it! She was a rock star! She was an incredible blessing to our children and to the pastors and to our entire conference.
I feel truly sorry for folks who weren’t involved in VBS. They missed out on a wonderful week of laughter – learning – bonding – joy – God’s love – friendships – grace – goofiness – running around – singing and Christian love. VBS is exhausting for those of us who are OLD (you know – over 18) – but worth every second of it!
I really hope we decide to do VBS with the other Lutheran churches in Louisville again next year. It is good for us to meet new people. It is good for us to make friends with our sisters and brothers in Christ. It is good for us to share the work. It is good for us to try new things. It is good for us to work together and support one another. It is good for our children to know there is a wider – larger Lutheran community out there in the world. It is good for us to grow and change! It is good for us to expand our horizons – our hearts – and our minds! It is good for us to be Christians together!
You are all in my heart – thoughts and prayers!
In Christ and with Love –