Nothing brings me more joy than to transform the sanctuary into the new, exciting location in which our VBS will take place… a laboratory, an underwater submarine, or a jungle (as this year required). The vines were hung by the sanctuary with care in hopes that the children soon would be there! There were stuffed animal monkeys and lions and bugs hidden and posed in every crevice. And everything stayed in place throughout the week as children sang, danced, played and crafted! I think MY heaven will be a VBS that never ends! (I say “my heaven” because I know that for some, VBS is located exactly the opposite of heaven).
All week long, we talked about the nature of God, as in who God is. We chanted that God is creator, provider, protector, savior and king… and that “I can count on God!” We had a little over 40 participants, which for our church is pretty good, especially knowing that only about a dozen of those kids are regular attendees! It truly is one of our church’s best evangelism tools!
This year, Isabel, my oldest, had a smirk on her face at the end of VBS and asked, “So mom, which song are you going to cry in this year?” “What do you mean?” I asked. “You cry every year during one of the songs on VBS Sunday… so which one’s it gonna be?”
That little punk!
I’m not some sap that cries at the drop of a hat. I am a strong woman… hear me roar! But wouldn’t you know it! All it took was for me to hear those young voices sing about how “My God will always be there… My God will supply.”
…like a baby. That little punk is right! Why do I cry every year? They’re cute, but not to the point of bringing me to tears? …And after some thought, I realized some of the reasons why.
I cry because it is beautiful to hear voices lifted up to the Lord in praise, regardless of what pitch they may be in. We had one little girl who shouted every word… making a beautifully joyful noise unto the Lord!
I cry because I want more than anything else in the world for them to remember these truths they sing about God! Pretty soon, most of what they see and hear will tell them otherwise. They’ll cut God out of the picture of creating, focusing solely on the “how” of creation, forgetting the Who and the “why.” They will be told it is money that provides, violence that protects and saves, and be given a host of earthly choices as to whom they will serve.
They sing it and believe it now, but I know they will forget! I know because sometimes I forget.
…I forget that my God will always be there… I forget that my God will supply… I forget that no matter what life brings, I can always count on God… and their brave chant, “I will not be afraid” reverberated in my soul. It reminded me that I should not be afraid either.
She was watching me from upfront as she sang and gave me that, “ah-ha! I was right!” look.
I hope and pray that she too will cry on VBS Sundays when she grows up. So I can taunt her, of course, but also out of my hope that she, too, will be reminded of God’s faithfulness.
“But surely, God is my helper. The Lord is the upholder of my life.”
Lolimarta Ros Reiter, or as most of her friends know her, Loli, ministers alongside the fine folks at The Presbyterian Church of Seffner outside of Tampa, Florida. She was born in Puerto Rico but has lived on the mainland since she was 9. Her daughter Isabel (10 years old) wants you to know her mom is funny; Olivia (7 years old) wants you to know she likes to talk about God…a lot; and John, her husband, wants you to know that she is the best wife, ever…Such a smart man! She looks forward to being in cyber-community with you.