We survived VBS! I’ll post more about it later, but for the time being, here is this morning’s sermon. I have embedded the VBS video that we watched at the end of the post. Enjoy!
Rehoboth Congregational Church
August 9, 2014
Opening Our Eyes To Something Spectacular
A few months ago, Bruce brought a new kayak. We each already had a kayak, so I was not really sure why he needed another one, but it was his birthday, so I filed it under the category, “something only fisherman understand” and we headed off to Bass Pro.
When we got there, Bruce showed me the much-anticipated new kayak. Among a myriad of other cool features, this kayak, I learned, was engineered to be sturdy enough for someone to stand up on it. This, of course, is ideal for a fly fisherman who wants to stand up in order to cast his line.
So more at peace with the reasoning behind why the kayak-to-person ratio in my house was becoming greater than one, I paid for the new kayak and we headed outside to load up. As Bruce and the guys were strapping everything down in the back of his truck, I began to think about the new kayak’s features – especially the ability to stand up in it – and suddenly had (what I thought was) the greatest idea in the entire world.
“Hey, I should use this kayak to paddle over to the Easter Sunrise service this year,” I said with a lot of excitement in my voice. “That way as I get close to the Anawan Club, I can stand up and do the welcome from the water as I float towards the shore. It will look like Jesus walking on water!”
After a few seconds of silence, the guys helping Bruce raised their eyebrows and looked away and Bruce said – with love – “That is the stupidest idea I have ever heard.”
This morning’s gospel reading is a story that I think we all know really well. Jesus not only calmed the stormy seas, but he walked on water, opening the eyes of the disciples to see something truly spectacular. “Truly, you are the Son of God,” they said as they worshipped him.
Well, that is a neat trick, isn’t it? No wonder the disciples listened to him that day. I am pretty sure that people would pay closer attention to my Easter Sunrise homily if I had walked on water to get to the shores of the Anawan Club.
It can be frustrating at times; there are just some pieces of the gospel that we cannot literally recreate here today. We can strive to be like Christ in our lives, but there are some parts of his life that will always remain a mystery, slightly out of reach.
It is never easy to find a good sermon illustration for this story. Unless it is below 32 degrees, I cannot walk on water. I cannot open your eyes like Jesus did for the disciples that day to see something that spectacular.
Or can I?
Vacation Bible School was this past week at church and one of my biggest challenges was getting the kids to buy into the idea that singing and dancing silly VBS songs is 1) fun and 2) not at all embarrassing
I was not having much luck.
Come Friday, I begged and pleaded with the youth group leaders. I told that that if THEY sang and danced and made it seem like fun, the younger kids would follow suit.
And they did.
At one point during our closing assembly I looked over and saw a group of high schoolers enthusiastically dancing along to “Get in Gear.” And while they probably will not be entering the School of American Ballet any time soon, they were able to get all of the younger kids dancing.
No one was walking on water, but my eyes were opened to something truly spectacular that morning. Because in that moment I realized that God had been working through all of us that week. We were not simply running a program that kept a group of kids busy for three hours; we were living out the ministry God was calling us into. We were shaping an entirely new generation of followers of Christ, opening their eyes to the way God’s works in their lives.
If we are looking for someone to defy the laws of gravity in order to believe in the Risen Christ, then we are looking in all of the wrong places. We need to be looking around us; we need to be opening our eyes to the truly spectacular things that are happening within our midst, within the Body of Christ that is alive and at work today, within our community.
And we need to celebrate that. And we, like the disciples who bowed down before Jesus, need to worship God in great thanksgiving for the ways that he is still working in our lives today.
God was alive and at work this week at the Rehoboth Congregational Church. I could see it all around me. I could see it in the children, in the youth and in the adults. I could see it in the smiles and in the laughter. I could see it when the children were listening and even when they were not listening. I could see it when the children were hearing bible stories and then learning how to apply them to their lives. I could see it in the singing and in the dancing. I could see when I saw a group of older girls take one of the younger girls under their wing when she was nervous on the first day. I could see it when groups of kids worked together on their craft projects, instead of separately. I could see it when one of the parents told me that her daughter chose VBS over dance class one morning. I could see it as I watched the high school leaders mentor the middle school leaders. I could see it on the ice cream covered faces of all of the children at their Friday ice cream party, a reward their goal for reaching their goal number of school supplies to collect. I could see it when parents came to pick up their kids and thanked us profusely for what we were offering to the community.
It was a wonderful, wonderful week.
These are the moments is where the road of ministry crosses the roads of our lives and our eyes are opened to something truly spectacular.
I cannot walk on water. But I have something really special that I would like to share with you this morning. It is a video of our week at Vacation Bible School. It was a week were the ordinary became extraordinary, where the regular became spectacular and where the moments of our lives became holy. I hope that it opens your eyes to God’s presence in our lives.
Thank you for always supporting the youth and children’s ministries of the Rehoboth Congregational Church. We are building the foundation for ministry to flourish in our community. We are creating a space where a new generation can open their eyes to the work that God is doing in this world.
Thanks be to God!