Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kids Can!

This week, as a group of our kids from our Music and Arts Camp (see the pictures throughout this post!) will be presenting music and drama as the core of our worship time, we will not be following the lectionary. Instead, some of the 55 amazing kids who have been with us the last five days will be telling us the stories of great kids from the Bible--kids who help us learn that they can do amazing things when they realize that they are not just children, but the children of GOD! I would encourage you to read the amazing stories we read this week in advance of Sunday--the story of Samuel learning to listen to God's voice; the story of David being chosen to be king; the story of a little girl whose willingness to forgive brought healing; the story of friends who were willing to stand up for what was right even at great cost; and the story of one little boy whose willingness to give his tiny lunch to Jesus let 5,000 people be fed. They are all stories WELL worth our time (and, since it is approximately 10,000 degrees outside, the fiery furnace story may be particularly apt to read right about now!).

As we began to plan for Music and Arts Camp, I was amazed by the number of stories there were to choose from in the Bible featuring kids! Honestly, it was a hard list to narrow down; besides the five stories we chose, there were dozens of other amazing tales that I so wanted our kids to hear. There was Miriam, protecting her brother Moses as he floated in the bushes so that he could live to lead God's people. There was Gideon, being chosen by God as an unimportant child to lead his people out of oppression. There was Esther, probably not far into her teen years when she realized God had made her queen "for such a time as this" to save the Jewish people from extinction. There was Jeremiah, chosen by God before he was born to be a prophet to the nations. And let us not forget dear Mary, probably not much more than 13 or 14 when she was asked to bring God's son into the world. It seems like we could have EASILY done two weeks focusing on biblical kids who can!

I think what this slew of biblical kids called by God can teach us--among other things--is how low we often set the bar for what we can do, at all stages of life. "I can't do it!" is one of the most frequent and frustrated cries we hear from any child attempting a new task who wants to get it right immediately--to be able to do it just like grownups. As adults, we think we're too old to be called to something new, to do something important, to change--we don't want to risk the failure, the discomfort, making fools of ourselves or being hurt. God's continued invitation to the Samuels and Slave Girls among us reminds us that if we can manage to do things like listening, forgiving, giving what little we have--that God can do some remarkable things with whatever we offer freely. It sounds cliched, but it is really beyond true--God believes that we can, with God's unconditional love and help supporting us.

I wonder, if we started kids off earlier (and us grownups, too!) learning about people in the Bible who, though as ordinary as they are--forgotten youngest brothers, people whose names did not even get recorded, boys and girls from all countries and classes--were called by God to do extraordinary things...I wonder if then we could see the Bible not just as a book of crazy things that happened long ago and could never happen today, but as our story, the great adventure into which God invites all of us who have been called children of God (and that is what we are!) to live.

May we be challenged by our children and these kids from long ago on Sunday morning to believe that when God calls us God's children and invites us into God's ongoing story in this world....we, too, can do anything!

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