June 14, 2012
This week we have 55-65 munchkins running around in the church via the annual summer event called Vacation Bible School. Let me say publically that young Paul Macpherson has run VBS for the past 5 years or so and he has done a spectacular job. I’m sad to say this may be his last year.
I am struck watching these children by how “moldable” they are. They believe things that are anything but true simply because “Johnny told them so.” (Poor Johnny, he gets blamed for everything that plagues children.) They also hear things that adults say and come up with entirely different conclusions from what is intended. Or maybe it’s we adults who don’t articulate ourselves very well? Whatever the case, I recall several faith related things from my childhood that I held to be true. Please don’t think less of me because of my naiveté!!!
I remember believing that if someone were to drink the blood of Jesus they would live forever. Now on some level that’s true, but not on the level I understood it to be. Obviously I picked up that information in church one day as the minister was serving communion. But I thought he was referring to the actual physical blood of Jesus and that he was talking about being immortal in this world. As I said, one never knows how children might be interpreting the things we say.
I also believed that Jesus was the only person in history who was exactly 6 feet tall. No idea where that came from!!
I believed that a Bible held certain “superstitious powers,” i.e., if one “swore on it” (as in taking an oath) and lied, something dreadful would happen to them. Nor were we supposed to set anything on a Bible, drop them, or write in them. It was okay to leave them sit unopened for months or years at a time gathering dust, just don’t do anything disrespectful to them.
Lastly, I believed that if/when we got to heaven our lives and all the dreadful, shameful things we did would be played on a huge movie screen for everyone to see. In other words our introduction to heaven was humiliating. I don’t know where this tidbit of theology came from either!
Truth be told, my introduction to God as a child was of a Being who was stern, angry, and just waiting for me to mess up so He could punish me. Not exactly the caring heavenly Father that I have come to know as an adult. That being said, what is your understanding of God? How, or does, He relate to you on a daily basis? Is He the Ogre in heaven? Or is he a loving, caring God who died for his creation? No doubt there are things about God that are difficult to figure. The whole Old Testament thing where entire towns of people; men, women and children along with animals are annihilated. These are not easy stories to justify. Non believers like to hit us over the head with them as ammunition to indicate the seeming inconsistencies of God. I have grown comfortable with the notion that there are simply things about the faith that I don’t understand very well. But in the midst of it, I believe God loves me.
I know, it doesn’t always make sense… sort of like when I was a kid. But the other options that are used to explain our existence make less sense to me. Here’s to a daily walk with a God that is too big for me to fully comprehend.
Blessings to you all.