I just returned to my office from the 9 a.m. start of our Vacation Bible School. There is nothing like starting your day with 500 kids singing, dancing, and shouting in unison, “God is Good!”
Being around children is contagious and, at its best, life-changing. Just ask any young parent. But you don’t have to be a parent to have your life altered by children. Jesus said “…unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 18:3) So there have been lots of uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters, teachers and helpers volunteering in VBS, all of them blessed by the privilege of being around children.
A dictum, often heard by members of my generation as we were growing up, was “Children are to be seen and not heard.” I’ll grant the point when it comes to the importance of learning good manners. But Jesus inverted that saying by placing a child in the middle of the adults and telling them that anyone who causes a child to stumble will be punished. (Matthew 18:6) He said that our children need to be both seen and heard, and that as believers we don’t get to choose which ones are “ours.”
One of the great witnesses of the post-resurrection church was the caring for orphaned children by the followers of Jesus. That commitment has formed the bedrock of our faith from the very beginning. If a child is hungry or struggling or fleeing from danger, whether from our neighborhood or someplace far away, he or she needs to be both seen and heard for the simple reason that he or she is a child of God. This is the commitment we make as the church, and the quality of our civilization and our common life together depends upon it.
Thanks to the thousands of volunteers in Vacation Bible Schools all around the world who serve selflessly, and who remind us that we are all children who belong to God.
Rev. Don Underwood