So, like many of my other clergy friends, last weekend was a big one. First, on Friday, we hosted an ice cream social on the front lawn of our church, complete with live band, free ice cream, and balloons. The point was to be a presence in our neighborhood, as well as be a re-gathering time for our congregants--or a time to bring a new friend looking for a church home. I am happy to say that we had tons of people from the neighborhood, from young families from the pre-school we house, to senior citizens who saw the sign to a lovely group from a home for people with special needs and beyond. All we did was advertise for free in our local village paper, and I made a bunch of "Burma Shave" signs that were up all week. The signs seemed to do the trick, as a lot of people said that is how they found out. I highly recommend putting signs up for any event that you want to attract the public to. But I digress.
Since the ice cream social took quite a bit of time, I was feeling less than prepared for my Sunday School Orientation the next morning. Yes, I had an agenda. Yes, I had a general idea of where it would all go. But I wasn't quite clear on how to pull it together with meaningful spiritual moments. But the Spirit was quite clear.
Secretly, I didn't expect many people to come. You can imagine my surprise and pleasure (and panic) when pretty much all of my teaching staff for the whole year showed up!
After coffee and fruit and all kinds of yummy breakfast pastries, people started to get settled around the tables. As they were being seated, I ran into my supply closet to look for stones so I could give one to everyone. All I could find was fake plastic jewels. I gave everyone a jeweled "rock" and said, just hang on to this for now. (At this point, I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but I figured I could improvise something.)
After doing a really fun community building activity, I introduced the curriculum, which is called "Rock Solid" and read the bible verse about the wise one building a home upon the rock. (get the jewels? rocks, right?) Then, I shared with them an entry from a friend's blog, (she and her family are part of our church family), entitled God Makes A House Call Well, of course the point of me sharing the blog entry is that Jess' daughter, Darby, is a wise spiritual angel and she is talking about rocks and God. Here is an excerpt (but really, read the whole entry!)
... I asked [Darby] how she thought that God might be like a rock. “Well, Mama,” she said, “You know how when you see a rock split open sometimes and it’s really beautiful inside? There’s crystals and colors and all kinds of stuff in the middle?”
I nodded, wondering where she might be taking this.
“Well,” she continued, “It’s just like that with God.”
She seemed perfectly satisfied with this, but she could see that I needed a little further explanation so she continued on. I sometimes wonder if she thinks, “Poor, Mama. She’s a little slow, isn’t she?” But if she does, she never shows it.
“You see, Mama, when you look at a rock you have to BELIEVE that it has all that beautiful stuff inside. You can’t see it, but you just KNOW that it’s there. Just like you know that God is there, INSIDE.”
So, you see, it was much more fitting that my wonderful, loving, beautiful teachers got colorful plastic jewels instead of grey stones....because they help children (and children help them) find the beautiful stuff of God inside of us.
And...thank you, dear wondrous Spirit of God. Amen.