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July 23, 2011
I am not really qualified to direct such an enterprise -- not trained in early childhood education, not a good administrator, not a good delegator, perennially guilty of biting off so much more than I can chew that everyone who has ever had to deal with me has given up in despair on the project of trying to make me different in that regard. Nonetheless, there I was anyway, every morning of this very hot week.

A whole industry surrounds Vacation Bible School today, as I am certain it did not when I was a child. I remember loving everything about it -- the crafts, the songs, the games, memorizing Bible verses back when people weren't scornful of having children memorize things. Now you can buy Bible School in a box -- everything you need to put one on, from instructions in how to recruit your faculty to DVDs for use in training them to printable hidden picture pages for your kindergartners. I even bought one -- of course, it was immediately misplaced in the process of our moving house, so I did not have it to use this week. I would have to roll my own.

And I might have considered more carefully the implications of the fact that I would be returning from a week away late the night before Vacation Bible School was to begin. And that my iPad is broken.

But enough whining. How did the children fare? They were wonderful, and they had fun. The boys had a predictably hard time holding still, but my two colleagues -- both more experienced in juvenile crowd control than I am -- proved geniuses at helping them calm down. Many roles in our act-out-the-Bible-story had to be doubled or even tripled -- little Carson, for instance, played all three wise men in today's production of the Nativity of Our Lord, racing up and down the aisle first with gold, then with frankincense and finally with myrrh. The children were introduced to the ancient art of cutting out strings of paper dolls who emerge from the scissors joined at the hands and feet (who let this this disappear from the elementary school crafts lexicon?) and dressing them up in the garments Dorcas in the Book of Acts had sewn for them. Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Cheese Goldfish were multiplied again and again for our snack on the day we did the Feeding of the Five Thousand -- everyone got only two, but another of the little crackers miraculously appeared each time one was consumed. That was the same day they all cooperated on making a paper chain which ended up forty feet long, demonstrating how small things, by God's grace, can become huge. The 108-degree heat today made serving pizza as a celebratory last day feast unthinkable, and melted all the chocolate off the Girl Scout cookies we served as a fast alternative, but what of that? It was The Last Snack.

Can I claim that the adults were not glad when it was over? Not with any honesty. Could our Vacation Bible School have been better? Most assuredly so, if anyone but I had been in charge of it. God willing, someone else will be next year.

But, as with much of human striving, the most important thing about it was not its faults. Life is imperfect, but it is beautiful nonetheless. Existence is more interesting than non-existence. There is a solution to everything. As I heard the angel Gabriel remark to the Virgin Mary only this morning: with God, nothing will be impossible.

This eMo is lovingly dedicated to Denise Robbins and her daughter Jessica, my partners this week, without whom I would have been toast.
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