Let’s all just stop for a minute and be real about Vacation Bible School. You may be tempted to fool yourself into thinking that VBS is all about the kids, maybe some sound biblical teaching, and some very catchy, happy go-lucky songs. Time to wake up my fellow VBS workers, whatever the VBS director has been telling you is wrong, dead wrong. Vacation Bible School is all about the
Yes, I said it. Wrap my head in duct tape and ship me off to Outrigger Island, but so help me I must tell the truth. Why is is that when we have a scheduled “VBS work day” do we end up lying on our bellies on the filthy fellowship hall floor coloring in 6ft pineapples until our hands shrivel up like prunes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh sure, there is the obligatory presence of the “Craft people” to make things look legit, but we all know that little VBS fairies sneak into the supply closet and cut out those 900 construction paper jellyfish bodies so that we can all get to the important business of turning our church into a pretty close model of a Caribbean resort. One summer, as an intern for a fairly large church in Houston, I witnessed the transformation of a Sunday School class into an exact model of a Japanese garden-complete with real flowers and a small wooden bridge. That itself would have been amazing, except for it was only one classroom in a hallway full of temples, traditional Japanese homes, and other stereotypical Americanized versions of what we think Japan is like. This church spends thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on its VBS decorations, and came be to known as “the” place to go to VBS. We aren’t quite there at my church, but we do spend countless hours coloring the before-mentioned pineapples and the myriads of tropical-themed items to plaster on the walls.
I found myself caught up in the decorating madness this week as my 7th grade helper and I worked feverishly up to the very last minute to make our room look as amazing as the other rooms on our hall. I mean, come on! We are 3rd and 4th grade Crafts #2 and as part of the experience of the theme, we must not be found lacking in tropical decor. I think the decorating madness took a turn for the worst when I realized that I had very little knowledge of what the kids were actually learning this week. I hadn’t finished my decor, I had no idea how the crafts tied into the lessons, and I had no clue what in the world was going on outside of “Wow, did you see the cabana in the sanctuary??!” Somewhere between cute jellyfish decorations and searching for more sharpies, I managed to glance at the Bible study lessons. “Living God’s Unshakable Truth” is the theme for the week…
It kind of puts those cute little jellyfish decorations and my 4 ft bulletin board paper replica of a sea turtle in their proper place. I really like that idea, living His Unshakable Truths about Who He is and who we are. God is unshakable, even when I can’t get it together and I fumble through my first night of VBS. He is unshakable, even when we go crazy over decorations and lose sight of the beautiful simplicity of telling Bible stories to a 4 year old who doesn’t know where she will sleep that night. He is unshakable, even when I find myself unemployed and terrified about the future. When Brian needs another knee surgery so he won’t be crippled for the rest of his life, and when I still grieve over the death of a dear friend. He is unshakable, when dear friends pray desperately that a miracle will touch their unborn child. He is unshakable, when circumstances refuse us a firm footing and remind us that we are all in desperate need of the Unshakable.
How did I get here from VBS decorations? I’m not sure, but as is often the case, God speaks so clearly through the simple and childlike. Maybe His heart is glad when He sees His children express their creativity through art and decor as we seek to give the kids a wonderful, imaginative interaction with His unshakable truths. Perhaps in the midst of all the glue and paper He would love for us to remember what it was like to have that unshakable childlike faith in the Him. May we all regain our childlike faith in the unshakable, perfect person of God.