I am not a great VBS person. I mean, I love the spectacle. I love the titanic effort required. I love the community it creates. I’m just not all that wild about the implied task that, as an adult, one of my primary duties is not so much to teach spiritual treasures to little children. My job is to keep them alive, uninjured, safely escorted to potty breaks, un-offended by the need of the teacher to teach without the constant buzz of too many children with too much sugar from the snack station, dry from their mouthwash cup of water that is too little to quench thirst, but suddenly holds an ocean of water if spilled onto another child…
VBS stress is real.
VBS is wonderful.
I’m not very good at it.
I have some heroes who have been extraordinary people, who, applying themselves into the fray of a Vacation Bible School setting somehow seem to come to life, like Iron Man’s armor. Before, they were charming and fun, but after the children enter the room, they become more. They become mighty. They are people of whom this world is completely unworthy.
Some of them are bigger than life. Some are quiet and bring the children in and bring their volume down naturally.
Me, I’m tall, scary, with a deep voice, and if I don’t deliver every instruction with a smile, other people’s children weep. It’s like being the Beast and inviting Belle down for dinner. Was I smiling or baring my teeth? I don’t know, but that’s a five tissue meltdown going on down the kindergarten hallway right now.
The greatest thing I have experienced in all of VBS in the last decade has been the concept of the “God sighting.” Children are encouraged to take the concepts they learned during the day and look for how God does those things in their world around them. The next day, they come back and tell the adults and the rest of their little cell group about what they saw. They get some sort of swag or another as a reward. It’s nothing deep or poetic, but it is the greatest thing that will happen during VBS just shy of a full and new commitment to faith.
And even then, I’d put them on the same plane of existence.
Have you ever wondered, while looking at the stars about everything we cannot see? I mean, think about the true majesty of what we can see. Consider the star Arcturus. It is the fourth largest star in the night sky, the brightest in the northern hemisphere. If you are lucky enough to find it on a late evening, the light you see left the star when I was almost three years old. It is huge. It is dying.
The ancients predicted that there was another star in the same system of Arcturus, making its system binary. Think Luke Skywalker looking listfully off into a double sunset with that bomb soundtrack music playing… or I guess just before disappearing into his next appearance… meh.
Scientists with more stars to gaze at than time on their hands have yet to confirm any sort of orbital buddy for Arcturus. They suppose, based on the way it wobbles in space, that there is possibly a planet orbiting it as close as we orbit our sun, but about the size of Jupiter.
The imagination explodes with what a Jupiter sized Earth would even be.
And that’s just what we can see.
Out in the dark and vast, in places where we can never travel without turning our fiction into reality are spinning worlds beyond. There is gas consumed in the fiery explosion of nuclear perfection, sending out a ballet of radiation, wind, magnetic storms, heat, and light out into their systems. Some of these stars burn with only dust encircling them. Some dance in tandem with other stars like interlocked ice skaters, taking millennia long circles around one another.
Some of them have planets the size of Jupiter orbiting as close as Mercury, tearing their fabric piece to piece, moment by moment, ejecting hot lava into space to cool into dust, rock and ice, only to be exposed from the shadowy side of these planets back into vapor.
And we don’t even see them.
My favorite thing about watching movies with a twist for a second time is to watch them with people who have never seen them. Yes. I’m that guy. I watch people watch movies. For me, there’s nothing quite as cool as the face of wonder and awe. It’s why we call each other for beautiful sunsets or utter the phrase, “here, taste this.”
It’s even why we sadistically utter the phrase, “do you smell that?”
Last night, we were watching a show about some truly spectacularly built homes in remote locations. They were built for the views the home enjoyed. The houses were also built to give comfort and home to those who occupied it. One of my little guys was awake, too excited about the coming day. He sat on his mama’s lap and the first time one of these homes was revealed he let got of a beautiful, “wowwwwwwwwww!” That earned him ten more minutes of absence from his bed.
We are built to not only enjoy the moments of wonder we experience, but to also treasure the awe in other people’s hearts.
Have you ever seen the wonder
In the glimmer of first sight
As the eyes begin to open
And the darkness meets the light 
Have you ever found yourself caught up in a forever moment of gazing at a baby and realizing you just lost ten minutes of your life watching them experience life? It’s something else. Their lives can be easily measured in minutes or hours. They are a riot of need and contentment. Have a baby, and suddenly you want to show the entire world to that baby just to experience their experience.
We were made in the image of God, after all.
On a small scale, we hide the taste of steak from our children only as long as it takes to teach them how to eat it. Then we cannot withhold it any longer, knowing how much they will love it. On the large scale, there are planets we have never seen. How much is God bursting with joy in anticipation to show us what He has made that we have never seen? What is out there we just don’t know yet?
There are secrets beyond secrets which God holds behind His back, knowing the right moment and eager with perfect knowledge of how awe-filled the moment will be. He is worthy of praise because He is good. In addition, He is also amazing. He is not just the standard of worth and holiness, He is what our image saturated minds really crave. He is the great spectacle beyond which there is no second or third place to compare.
In eternity, what great revelation awaits that our minds cannot even create in a hundred, thousand, million attempts at painting, writing, scripting, imagining, and drowning the night with shared conversation? What does He have next beyond the bright stars in the darkness of space to share with us?
What if today you and I walked with that same anticipation? What if we walked around a corner knowing that there might be a miracle waiting there? What if we encountered a walking miracle in the life of a person we just need to greet? What if we looked for God working just to brag on God.
Maybe then, keeping in mind all of the things that are good, pure, holy, and wonder-filled, as Paul compels in Philippians 4:8, we might find God leaving a bread crumb trail for us across the wasteland that is secretly an oasis of wonder, relationship, wholeness, and new birth.
1. Joel Houston, Matt Crocker, “Wonder,” Wonder, Capital CMG Publishing, 2017. CCLI# 7084120.