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Let the little children come…

And they did!... Sunday night, the sounds of children echoed through the halls of Lenape Valley. Vacation Bible School blasted off with a family event, complete with face painting, bubbles, games, crafts, snacks and just some good oldfashioned fun! What a delight to see families enjoying an evening together. Those moments are hard to find in our busy world. The craft ladies helped our children transform paper plates into sun visors. Our teens painted the solar system on the faces and arms of our children to celebrate this year’s “Stellar” theme. That theme carried over to the snack table where Moon Pies and rocket pops were the treats of choice. From cornhole and hula-hoops, to a scavenger hunt and giant bubbles, there was joy in the house of the Lord Sunday night!

The saying, “kids will be kids” fit perfectly with the shenanigans of the evening. At one point, a family was playing a game of Giant Jenga. Imagine large rectangular blocks stacked into a tower. With each turn, a player must remove a block from the tower and place it on the top of the tower without toppling the tower. Early in the game, this movement of blocks goes rather smoothly. But as the game progresses and the tower grows in height, the integrity of the structure becomes rather questionable. Each block removed shakes the tower, and when the block is placed on the top, again vibrations threaten to take the tower down. Sunday night, a family- motherfather-daughter- worked patiently, one round after another, to build a tower almost 5 feet tall. A crowd gathered to watch the family work. With each turn, we collectively held our breath, hoping for a successful move of a block. We all wondered how many rounds this family would be able to keep the game going. Then suddenly a two-year-old broke loose from his father and ran recklessly past the tower causing that carefully built structure to collapse. The response was laughter because there was joy in the house of the Lord Sunday night.

That joy continued into Monday, as children gathered in the sanctuary to sing and dance- This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. And shine they did!... from craft to Bible to snack to games… and then back again for some final singing in the sanctuary before going home. Two nights down… three to go… Dear Jesus, give us energy to keep up with our kids! As I write this Tuesday letter, I am buoyed by the joy of our children, reminding me of the simple faith to which we are called. We need more of that simple faith in this very complicated world. How do we make sense of the economic inequities of our world that find some of us rambling around in spacious homes with more rooms than we need, while others have no place to call home? How do we make sense of the discord in our community that pits parents against educators in a school district that once was known for excellence in education? How do we make sense of the increasing violence of our world, with wars erupting in every region, and gun violence tearing our city apart? How do we make sense of the weather that seems to be as angry as our culture? How do we make sense of the world in which we live… minds smarter than I seem stumped. Where to we turn for the way forward?

Then I listen again to our children singing… their simple faith placed in the One who is the Light of the world. John tells us in the opening of his gospel, 
In Him was life, and that life was the light of all. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:4-5
Often, I feel overwhelmed by the darkness of this world, but our children trust simply in the One whose light the darkness cannot overcome. I keep looking for answers, but our children are looking for Jesus. I want to understand, but our children seem to know the love that surpasses knowledge that is wide and long and high and deep (Ephesians 3:18-19). I want to see the next step that we need to take, but our children just put their hands in His, trusting Him for that next step. I have forgotten how to be a child, so God has placed me in their midst again and again so that I can learn from them how to walk by faith. Jesus said that we must be like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. I have much to unlearn to be like our little ones- joyful, trusting, open-hearted, ready to be God’s instrument of grace.

Thursday evening (7:30pm) and again on Sunday morning (9am), our children will share some of their joy with our faith community. I hope their faith witness is contagious so that we will become a child-like community, walking by faith not by sight. If you come, I know that you will experience joy in the house of the Lord!

With you, learning from our little ones,
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