Sunday, June 19, 2011

Loving Cotton Balls

If I asked you what a church basement smelled like, could you conjure it? There are some places that inexplicably but universally smell the same, among them: Borders bookstores, school buildings, and church basements.

The first church experience of my life was attending Vacation Bible School at Sandy Lake Baptist Church in Mahtowa, Minnesota. I would wait in the back of the sanctuary until the children were dismissed by grade level, never quite knowing if I was supposed to go with the grade I had just finished or the grade I would be entering. Somehow, I joined a line. Then we walked single file down the steep and narrow staircase to the basement.

There are three things I learned in Vacation Bible School at Sandy Lake Baptist:

  1. What a church basement smells like

  2. Celery + Peanut Butter + Raisins = Delicious

  3. Don't puke on your cotton-ball-lamb-craft because you will not be allowed to make another one.

In the main room there were long rows of folding tables surrounded by long rows of folding chairs. We sat down and were instructed how to make a lamb's face out of a paper plate by gluing on cotton balls. I'm sure this had something to do with Jesus, but as indicated by #3 on the aforementioned list, I missed this part because I was suddenly sick...right on my half-wooled lamb.

The teacher rushed me to a sink. My lamb was thrown away. I sat back down feeling much better and asked for another plate, but for whatever their reason, they wouldn't give me one.

I am not an expert in love, and I am not perfect in its execution. But here is what I know:

  1. Love helps a third grader get in the right line.

  2. Celery + Peanut Butter + Raisins = Delicious

  3. Above any program, schedule, curriculum, neat craft: you learn about love by being loved.

  4. And love always (always, always) finds another plate, another cotton ball, another bottle of glue, and another minute.

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