Summer is upon us, and that typically means fun weeks of Vacation Bible School, church camps, and summer Sunday School. This year is so unique and different, creating new challenges for families who normally look forward to enjoying all the activities at church over the summer. I have mourned the loss of our Vacation Bible School week. Finding ways to recreate that special experience of fun, faith, and fellowship at home is an unexpected challenge, but one that leads to new joys in experiencing God’s love and care.
Vacation Bible School is such an iconic part of summer for Christian children. More than once when I tell a new friend that I am a children’s ministry director and what that means, they have shared a memory from their favorite VBS experience. From remembering pastors dressed up in Bible costumes, to making crafts to give to people who are homebound, to great snacks, to making new friends, children experience God through so many creative and fun ways in the summer. Even though we are social distancing, this can still be true.
An at-home VBS for families that includes activities for all the ages and members could be the most memorable yet. VBS could be any time of day or evening. For families juggling work from home or changed childcare patterns, a time to be together could be as flexible and easy as possible. It could simply be children reading scripture with their families and thinking about what it means. Online or in person, playing games and dressing up to perform a short Bible story skit can be like no other faith experience. Taking a trip to the edge of town to peer at the stars or looking up pictures of the galaxies and marveling at the universe could bring us closer to the awesome majesty of God’s creation. Donating food and clothing to local shelters as a family reminds us of the power of loving our neighbor. Writing letters and drawing pictures for the older adults in our community gives us the chance to love and care for our elders, many of whom are more directly affected by the worries of COVID-19. Saying a prayer of thanks before a summertime treat could be just the right moment of worship in our long, hot days.
Even though this year has brought deep change, God’s love is ever strong and present. As we endeavor to be creative in our faith experiences for our families, let us thank God for the joy and comfort that we experience with one another. May God bless us with renewed spirits through the beauty of summer and our time together.