Kool Aid, Cookies, Crafts and Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School begins this evening at 5:45 here at First United Methodist Church, Water Valley, Mississippi.  In the 1970’s and 1980’s when I was coming up as a kid,  Bible School was a big deal.  I can remember we children would converge on all the churches in town.  You just didn’t go to your church’s Bible School, you went to every church’s Bible School.  I can remember 80-120 kids gathering for this annual event.  We looked forward to this each year.  

I don’t remember the Bible stories necessarily, but I do remember how the Bible stories were presented.  Remember, this was is the day before video’s were used and goodness gracious home computers had not even been invented yet.  No power point,  Facebook, or you tube.  The means of sharing the Bible story was through flannel graphs.  You remember those.  They were punch out pictures of Bible characters that would adhere to a bord that was covered with flannel.  The story was not a recording, but a real live person that told the story, and some could truly make the story come alive and some were, well not the best at story telling.  However, you always got something out of the lesson.

Another thing that I loved was the crafts.  When I say crafts, I mean crafts.  The older you became the more complex the crafts.  I particularly remember one year when I was in the sixth grade we made bird houses.  Man, these were houses for Blue Birds.  I think I remember driving a nail or two onto the outside of the wood, but at the end of the day I painted mine Chinese Red, and I was proud of what I had done.  Another, year I can remember, we made latch rugs.  You, remember those were the things that you had the thing that you pulled the yarn through and it was either a cat, dog or some scene made out of yarn.  It was almost a paint by number with shag carpet kind of thing.

Then, and perhaps my most favorite were the refreshments.  Kool aid by the gallons, cookies by the dozen.  Then there would always be a day when something special would be thrown in like Ice Cream Sandwiches.  Man, those were the days…

As an adult I am able to look back and see that it took someone giving of themselves to deal with a bunch of kids that were just as rambunctious as kids today.  Sad to say that children today are missing out on so many wonderful things that my Generation, Generation X were able to enjoy.  Building forts, wading up the creek, and riding your bikes all over town without fear of someone harming you.  When summer came your mama told you to go outside and play.  There were no computers, Wii’s, or X Boxes.  It was just you, and your friends.  You could be anything that you could pretend to be.  You were involved in 1 sport that played for the season and then that was over till next year.  I played a little baseball for a short while and football in junior high,  Tried to learn how to play the piano, but I would never practice.  Times have changed.  Some of these changes have been for the better, some for the worse.  However, at the end of the day kids are still kids, and they need to know about Jesus and his love.  

Each person that is ordained into The United Methodist Church, are asked the historical questions that John Wesley asked of all his preachers, and one of these questions has great importance.  “Will you be diligent in instructing the children wherever, you are sent?”  It is important that I as a pastor recognize the gravity of this question.  Children have always been an important part of my ministry.  They are young and impressionable.  Their little hearts are not hardened yet by the living of life.  They offer fertile soil so that the Gospel can be planted, take root and grow!  This is why we have Bible School.  Sure, it’s hard work, but it is worth it, and so rewarding.  Remember, someone did it for you. You can make a difference in the life of a child.  I know of no greater thing that one can do…


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