I have a song stuck in my head. “Rainforest Adventure, a treetop Bible blast! Rainforest Adventure, living life together in Christ.” Yes, it’s this year’s VBS theme song! As this VBS week draws to a close, I can’t help but think about Anderson Hall (our fellowship hall) full of kids, singing together, playing together, and learning more about God and faith.
Sometimes I think that faith has to be something complicated. After four years of college (I majored in religion) and four years of seminary, I realize that I’ve learned a lot about God and theology, history and worship, mission and pastoral care. And then I start to panic. I’ve spent a significant amount of time learning all sorts of things that pastors are supposed to know, and the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know! I love that there are parts about God that we can know, and that there are parts of God that are a mystery, but sometimes I get overwhelmed by the mystery. I get hung up on trying to find a rational explanation for how God can be three persons in one, or I get concerned with trying to figure out how death, resurrection, and heaven work. And let me tell you, getting hung up on God’s mysteries is sometimes exhausting and overwhelming work!
This is why VBS is good for me. Rainforest Adventure is a VBS focused on talking about God’s gifts and how we can be good stewards of all he has given to us. Our daily themes are as follows: we share, we give, we grow, we love, and we praise. Isn’t this the Christian life at its most basic? We start with the premise that God has given us everything – our lives, our earth, our vocations, our relationships, our possessions, and even (or especially!) our redemption. And then once we recognize that we owe our lives to the God who creates and saves us, our faith lives are bound up in sharing our resources and our faith with others; giving of ourselves, our time and our possessions; growing in faith, love and service; loving God, our neighbors, and ourselves; and praising God for being a big, wonderful, creative, loving, saving God!
I think we all get bogged down sometimes. We feel overpowered by God’s mystery, or we feel overwhelmed by all the details involved with being a church, or we get concerned with wanting to say the exact right thing when sharing our faith, or we worry about whether or not we know enough about God to ever want to share the good news with our neighbors. These are the times when we need to have a VBS moment: to remember that our Christian lives do not depend upon having all the answers or even having good organization skills. Our lives of faith are lives of sharing, giving, growing, loving, and praising. God has given us everything, and the only thing that he asks in return is our faithful hearts and grateful spirits. Now isn’t that simple?