Let The Children Come to Me
Written by Erika Castiglione
My family started going to church when I was three years old because a neighbor invited my older brother and me to attend Vacation Bible School. I only have vague memories of eating flower shaped butter cookies and singing “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart,” but we must have really liked it because we were happy to go back the next Sunday, and the Sunday after that, until we eventually became members. It was there where I learned the basic truths of the Gospel, that Jesus died on the cross and rose again, and that he loved me and wanted to live in my heart (I pictured a little door on a smooth, shiny red heart shaped like the ones I liked to draw on my church bulletin).
It takes a lot of work and resources to put on Vacation Bible School and some might wonder if it’s worth it or what the kids really “get out of it.” Sure, they had a great time, but does eating frosted flakes manna and making homemade butter really teach them something about the gospel? I think it absolutely does. Maybe not the butter itself and maybe not always the Bible story time (I’m not sure how many of the preschoolers could articulate exactly why they painted a red mark across the paper bag “door” of Moses’ house), but certainly through the love, wonder, and joy they experienced.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record Jesus’ invitation for children to come and be blessed by him. We’re not told much about those children and it’s uncertain whether or not they were able to fully understand Jesus’ teaching, but I have no doubt they understood his love as he drew them in and rebuked those who disregarded them. I would love to see how those seeds of love and truth were watered in their lives and how Jesus’ prayers for them were answered. I also hope to see how some of the seeds planted through Waypoint Kids will be watered and grow in the years to come.
The theme of the week was to trust God to be near, to provide, to give to strength, and to save. For some of these children, it was their first big event, and even the first time to spend a significant time away from their parents, since covid started, and this unique circumstance provided an opportunity for them to put these truths into practice. One of the participants also had to trust God with an emergency appendectomy on the first night (and she still came back for the last night to be with friends).
If you had stopped by the sanctuary last Thursday around 7:45pm you would have seen a bunch of spinning, dancing, flag-twirling, jumping, shouting, running around, and general mayhem. You might have been able to make out the words to “Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah,” and you certainly would have heard a lot of children yelling, “Trust God!” After a long week of later nights than usual for the majority of the crowd, most of the children had gone past exhausted to wired and loopy, and the energy in the room was palpable. It was the kind of scene I could imagine some serious-minded disciples wanting to shut down. And, then, Jesus saying, “the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16)
If you would like to volunteer once a month with Waypoint Kids, please contact Megan at Megan@waypointrdu.com