As I write this, it is the 3rd day of Vacation Bible School. I am not exaggerating when I say that I wish every one of you were able to witness what happens during a week of VBS. There is transformation all over the place. The transformation is beautiful to witness because it isn’t just a transformation of the physical space it is a transformation of hearts. It is a transformation into hope.
First, the physical transformation. There was no doubt we were all in for something amazing. Walking into the building was an adventure! A testimony to the creativity, passion, and dedication of Zion. This was not going to be a few decorations hung to set the mood. The space was transformed from a building into an adventure. And, as the kids walked in they saw not one but TWO trains, two train tunnels, mountains, streams, a train station, RR crossings, trees, and balloons and so much more. They also saw smiling faces who had been waiting for them and who were ready to welcome them in. Faces who were ready to celebrate all the goodness of God together.
As the VBS participants started to arrive, so did the excitement, joy, and wonder. And that was all there because God was calling us together. Hope arrived too. That was clearly God’s doing as well. It had been two years since we were able to gather like this. It felt electric and hope-filled. It felt transformative.
It began right away the first day the kids walked through the doors. As they walked into Trinity Hall to begin their weeklong journey at Rocky Railway VBS, the transformation was all around. Kids wearing bright, sunny yellow T-shirts overtook Trinity Hall! And so did an overwhelming sense of hope for the future. God’s future.
Pure happiness and a ‘buzz’ of energy wafted throughout the building. We were all transformed. What a privilege to watch a Jr. High student leader kneel and help a Preschooler who was having a tough time saying goodbye to Dad for the day. What a joy to watch this team of leaders, from all across the age spectrum, commit to one goal: connecting with kids as we shared our faith and learned from each other. To hear kids laughing, singing, praying, and celebrating the gifts of God was like watching hope come alive. Every day, in multiple ways we witnessed transformative moments of faith float around like confetti at one of the finest parades. God’s transformative power reigned down on us.
That is God for you. God transforms us every day from what was…to what might be. We know it most profoundly on Easter morning. But, God’s transformative power is all around, every day. We have collectively lived in the chaos of the nearly minute-by-minute changes forced upon us because of a pandemic. We are emerging and we ought to be celebrating.
I’m reading a new book, What If It’s Wonderful?, by Nicole Zasowski. I love that title. As we collectively and intentionally look into an unknown future [after all, that is what happens during an interim time], what if we asked ourselves that very question? What if whatever is coming next is wonderful? We can ask that boldly because we know that God is all about transformation. We can ask it because we know that God’s will toward us is good. This week felt like a long-awaited celebration. After two years of not being able to have VBS, it felt like a triumph to see Trinity Hall packed, to hear the laughter, and to feel the energy. It was a celebration, really. Celebration is God’s healing balm for our broken world and to our scarred hearts1. It is the exercise of actively remembering and enjoying the goodness of God in our lives2. There is much to celebrate, Zion! We will be hearing more about that collectively as we look more deeply into the results of our CAT survey and celebrate our strengths as a faith community. Just think how transformative it will be if we pray together about Zion’s future. And what if our prayers were to ask: What if it is WONDERFUL?
1Nicole Zasowski, What If It’s Wonderful? p.170