In Praise of Vacation Bible School
As I look back on my summer visits to Vacation Bible School, I can only hope that the dear volunteers who endured me have either moved on to “glory” or have forgotten the experience. I know it is hard for you to believe, but I was one of the horrible kids at VBS. There was always a kid who cried every day. There was usually at least one kid who had an “accident.” I was usually the “grumpy kid” who just didn’t want to be there. I made sure everybody knew about it as well.
Maybe it was the reality that snack time was a clip from the Twilight Zone. One summer, each kid received a saltine cracker, cabbage leaf, and cheese cube. It was “C” night, I guess. This was how we dealt with alternatives to “sugary snacks” back in my day. Now, pair that delectable offering with a glass of Mrs. Cotton’s Sweet Tea (Her name also has a “C” in it), and you can get a tremendous belly laugh at the ridiculousness of the contradiction. No one bothered to tell “sweet” old Mrs. Cotton that we were cutting back on the sugar that year for VBS. And of course, Kool Aid starts with a “K” so they were out of options I guess. And did I tell you that the water source for our church was a high-sulphur well? Good times.
The only way I know how to describe Mrs. Cotton’s Sweet Tea is that you could put it on pancakes and never know it wasn’t syrup. Seriously. You could drink her tea with a bowl of the sweetest Banana Pudding (My cousins and I tested this many times!) and testify under oath that the pudding had absolutely no sugar in it. Her tea actually seized your taste buds. Nothing else stood a chance. These were just some of the wonderful spiritual lessons I learned from the smattering of summer attendance I did make.
Thankfully, my years at CFC have modeled for me an annual opportunity to heal from the trauma. And, honestly, there are many things about my VBS disciplines that have stayed with me. Particularly, it was in VBS that I first learned the value of scripture memory. Speaking with our new CFC Kids’ Director, Kyle Carnahan, he assures me that our kids have had a wonderful time while being immersed in scripture. My wife informs me that this year they had an opportunity as adult leaders to glean a tremendous amount of biblical training and application through the process. She couldn’t be more excited about serving this year.
So if you’re on the fence about VBS, talk to one of our leaders about their experience this year. Better yet, perhaps, talk to one of the kids who’ve been here this week. Ask them about a particular lesson or verse they’ve memorized. And for those of you who need even further reinforcement, Melissa always has a pitcher of sweet tea in the Coffee Shop. We don’t have any cabbage though.