I spent the Presidents' Day weekend with kids. There were 75 or so fourth, fifth, and sixth graders at camp for a winter camp. I had help, and in truth, I was not a lot of help, but that is another story. Despite a day when I felt absolutely lousy, I had a great time. There are tons of stories, some good, some challenging that I could relate. There is one moment that stood out at the time and still does two days later.
The schedule called for a worship time on Sunday evening. Those in charge planned an hour for preparation and an hour for execution of a communion service. The prep involved a number of groups: one doing art, one music, one making banners, one preparing meditation thoughts, one for music, and one breaking the bread and filling the cups for the moment itself. It was a solid plan. Actual events have a way of not getting the memo.
Even before the prep time began, we had a camper get hit in the head with a basketball. After watching him for a while an ambulance was called and he left us. Turns out it was an ear infection so he went home. Other little dramas played out through the evening. One girl just arrived and had no idea where to go or what was really going on. Then there were several kids who wanted to do one thing, but those groups were full so had to settle for another, with some hurt feelings. Then one girl told another that her art work was terrible (exact words I did not hear). Tears flowed, friends rallied, and that continued into the service itself. I must admit that there was so much going on that it is amazing that anything resembling worship really happened. But that is exactly what happened.
Once prep ended the service began. What was scheduled for an hour took two. Each group in turn presented there scriptures, pictures, and lead songs. Kids needed to go to the bathroom, hang up their banners once displayed, some songs were a little out of tune, and not every fourth grader reads super well (they sound a lot like me). Yet through it all, all the tears, noise, movement, drama, good attitudes, bad attitudes, raised hands, and bread and grape juice, something special happened. As I said, I didn't feel well. Yet, I experienced something wonderful. As I ate the bread and drank the cup, I met the One who shed His blood for me. I love communion time. Every week I am privileged to partake. They are all special. This one was even more so.
Besides the experience itself, there was another lesson that evening. Kids are a lot like us, and so unlike us adults. Every week the body of Christ gathers. Every week is a little different, but that is how the church is. Each week, we have the distractions, the drama, the boredom, the excitement, the mistakes, the successes similar to those that night. They are the same, and they are so distant from each other. And just as happened on Sunday night, church happens. No matter what the world, or the enemy or our own attempts to derail it, church happens. Worship is experienced.
So thanks Patty, Nancy, Tish, Brent, and Kyle for a great evening. And most importantly thank you 75 preteen kids for taking me to the foot of the cross. It was an evening I will not soon forget.