I am a cradle Lutheran.
Most of my earliest memories of church and faith and belief are all set at Trinity Lutheran Church in Richmond – Indiana. (My other early memories are set at Zion Lutheran Church in Hartford City – Indiana). I can still see the asbestos tiles in the basement where we gathered for Sunday school and hear the clicky-clacky sounds the girls’ paten leather church shoes made as they clattered around.
I remember flannel board stories about Moses and Jesus and learning all of the words to all of the verses to “Jesus Loves Me” and “If I Were a Butterfly.” And paste (not glue in the early days). And pictures of Jesus that somehow always made Jesus look like one of the Bee Gees (it was the long flowing hair)!
And Vacation Bible School! VBS was AMAZINGLY awesome!
It was always so hot for VBS week. So hot your little legs would stick to the fake leather seats in the station wagon as you drove to and from VBS every morning and afternoon. (It was central Indiana in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. None of the Lutheran churches had central air conditioning yet! Just a small window box unit in the pastor’s office to keep HIM from melting – if he was lucky and the church council was generous . . .) But – no matter how hot it got – VBS week was a glorious week of joy and fun and happiness and taking over the church.
VBS meant getting to have OUR music in the sanctuary! VBS meant being LOUD in the church and in the SANCTUARY. This was shocking behavior to us – even though we did it every single summer!
VBS meant playing games and running around at church with our friends! (Never IN the building – we weren’t all totally wild and crazy about it. Just kinda – sorta wild and crazy about it.) I can still sing the “magic ball goes round and round song” that Mrs. Seibert taught us.
VBS meant crafting. I don’t remember the crafts being particularly outstanding – but there were crafts and I loved them.
VBS meant lemonade with one – single solitary ice cube floating in it and 2 or 3 store-brand “Oreo”-type cookies for snack. (I thought this was delicious – fine dining!)
VBS meant sweet – loving – kind – gracious – generous ladies showering us with attention and God’s love for 5 mornings in a row!
VBS was foundational to my Christian faith the way summer weeks at church camp were to other folks of faith. Simply hearing those 3 letters strung together brings a smile to my face – joy to my heart – and a lightness to my soul.
So now that I am an adult and pastor – I rarely turn down the opportunity to be a part of VBS when the opportunity presents itself. I want to help make a positive memory or 2 for someone else (hopefully). I want to share in the joy and the fun and happiness that is VBS.
Last week – several of the area Lutheran churches joined together with the super talented – dedicated – energetic staff from Lutheran Outdoor Ministries to host VBS. Oh what a glorious 4 days we had sharing – showing and learning about God’s great and glorious love!
There was singing (very passionate – rather un-Lutheran singing with praise hands and everything)! There were crafts. There were all sorts of wild and glorious games. There was so much running and noise and energy! There was daily chapel. There was Bible study. There was Aaron Flynn from Ascension with his wild socks (love those cool socks) – his guitar and his incredible talent to keep everything and everyone rolling! There was story telling with Pastor Andy from Saint John’s in Saint Matthew’s. There was a magic show in chapel one afternoon with Pastor Ken from Ascension. Pastor Kerri from Saint Stephen kept showing up every single day to play with markers and beads – because she loves any excuse to talk about Jesus while crafting! There were gracious – loving volunteers who came every single day to share and show God’s love.
There was so much joy. There was so much fun. There was so much laughter.
It was a blessing. It was VBS!
I am already looking forward to next year . . . You should definitely plan on joining us!