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Pastor's Corner: Why did God make eye boogers?

 

Last updated 7/14/2022 at 7:14pm

You know you're worshipping with children when that question immediately follows a reading of the creation story from Genesis - and the question is entirely serious.

This week, five Havre churches came together to put on Vacation Bible School. First Presbyterian, Messiah Lutheran, St. Jude Catholic Church, Van Orsdel United Methodist, and First Lutheran Church hosted kiddos from across our community to learn about "God Beyond Measure." The curriculum taught five aspects of God's character that are beyond measure: goodness, love, welcome, forgiveness, and generosity. Each day's games, crafts, songs, and Bible stories taught the themes in different ways, so children with different learning styles could all find a way into the message. After all, God's welcome is meant for all, whether you learn best through books or movement, art or music.

One of my favorite parts of VBS is how it blows open our silos at the kid-level. Yes, through GHAMA the congregations in Havre regularly have opportunities to worship and grow in faith together - Lenten Luncheons and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity are amazing chances to gather together as the body of Christ. But those gatherings are aimed at adults; VBS does for our children what those other events do for us.

VBS gathers kids from all churches (and maybe even no church) together, where they can see that God's family includes not only Lutherans, but Catholics, too! Not only Pentecostals, but even Presbyterians! Our kids might not think in quite those terms, of course, but VBS reminds us all that God's Church is bigger than our church. When you're little, all you know is your church, your Sunday School, your youth group. When you're at VBS, you see that God reaches way beyond the boundaries of your world.

Another aspect of our VBS that I love is the engagement the kids have with different adults and teenagers from across Havre. I remember how influential the teenage counselors were to me when I was a VBS camper. Seeing teenagers engage with their faith modeled for elementary-school-Megan how I could keep loving God as I grew up. There's a Christian sociologist, Christian Smith, who participated in a multi-year study of the faith of teenagers and 20-year-olds. He and his research partners found that, for teenagers, "the best predictor of meaningful faith in emerging adulthood" was their parents' engagement with faith. I believe that we can take Smith's findings a little farther: seeing people of all ages actively choosing to live into and live out their faith strengthens the faith of our youngsters. In other words, it's not just the parents' faith that matters. At VBS, the kids are surrounded by teenagers and adults who are choosing to love the Lord - and I pray the example sticks!

The faith and spirituality of children deserve to be respected and nurtured. So when we are fortunate enough to have a child ask us, "Why did God make eye boogers?" we can see their question as a legitimate foray into meaningful faith. And hopefully we can be as eloquent and fast-thinking as Deacon Tim, who answered beautifully: "Because God made our eyes so perfectly that while we sleep, our eyes clear out all the dust and dirt from the day, and our eyes put the gunk into eye boogers that we wipe away. Because God made our bodies good." May God's boundless goodness and love anchor your faith-and the faith of all our little ones!

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Pator Megan Hoewisch

First Lutheran Church

 

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