Matthew 19:14 – Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (NIV)
It is that time of the year when school is out and the children are on vacation. There is an opportunity for us in the church to introduce the children of the community to Jesus. Last week an announcement was made asking for help in the Vacation Bible School.
It brought to my mind the days when our two children went to summer church school. The four of us, including my wife and children, were often on vacation at the beach for a couple of weeks. A mission church had dedicated their time, five days a week, for two months during the summer. They used an old car and travelled along the beach with loud speakers mounted on the roof top, blaring out hymns and announcing that they would be along again in fifteen minutes to pick up the children at the end of the street. We would get ours ready, and head down to the beach to wait for the old car to return. It would arrive, pulling a small, home-made trailer. The younger children were packed into the car, while the older children were lifted into the back of the trailer. A women, whose legs were cramped from sitting in the trailer, would supervise the children on their trip to a very old, large cottage. There they would assemble for crafts, Bible stories, prayer and a cookie, served with chilled canned apple juice in a thin paper cup. About two hours later, the children would return, filled with excitement, and holding the object they had put together with Popsicle sticks, paper and crayons. Each one tried to get in ahead of the other to tell the stories about Jesus and how the story related to the funny-looking cross or boat that they had helped to create.
These times, and the basic truths taught, are still embedded in our now grown children.
How much different it is today: we advertise door-to-door using flyers, and the children are brought by car, fully secured by seat belts. Each child and helper has a specially-coloured name tag for security. An application and release form is required, and a nurse is always on duty. Nonetheless, the Vacation Bible School is an opportunity to introduce the children to Jesus — especially those who do not go to Sunday School during the regular season. This requires much long and hard planning for each congregation. Let us take time this summer to assist, and to see broken Popsicle sticks grow into a message about Jesus, and to be part of helping children go home to share this lasting impression with family and friends.
Prayer: Bless the little children who come in Your name. May they receive the message of the gospel, some for the first time. Bless those who help to make this possible. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.