God’s messy, wild love

A Weekly Reflection, Sunday, July 16, 2017

By: Amelia McDaniel

One of the things I love most about being an Episcopalian is the measured approach taken in worship and spiritual life. In the chaos of daily life, it is a welcome respite to come and say prayers that I have said my whole life and that others have said before me. There is a cadence, order, and calm.

What I have described is the antithesis of Vacation Bible School, and I love every bit of it, too. Where our regular worship and education time is neat and orderly, VBS is messy. Where normally our voices are pitched at acceptable decibel levels, VBS is loud. Gone are the darling dresses and smart looks of our children on Sunday mornings. At VBS, they come ready to play and to get dirty. It is a holy mess, and it is glorious.

This past week, the theme was “Camp Out.” We explored the truth of Jesus being the Light of the World. We learned that we are called to shine that light through friendship, service, and sharing. We ran around, learned teamwork, and explored on the nature trail. We expressed our creative sides through art projects. We recreated each day’s Bible story with Legos. We sang and danced our hearts out. In addition, as a service project, the children collected classroom supplies for the students at St. Andrew’s School. On Friday, we wrapped up with an instructed Eucharist with Weezie. It was all messy and holy.

All those activities listed above could not happen without the St. Mary’s community. An incredible group of middle school and high school youth turned out to help guide and love on these children. As always we had a fantastic group of adult leaders who are here to make the magic happen. This group included not only parents, but many parishioners who did not have kids in the program. The interactions between these disparately aged parishioners was priceless.

My prayer for all of us who participated in VBS this year is that in the measured calm of our worship, we hold that spark of God’s messy, wild love. I hope we can shine that light to our St. Mary’s community and to all those we meet.