Pastor Mark’s eNote – Purity of Heart and Vacation Bible School

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     Vacation Bible School is good (I’ll wait here while you write that down).
     It’s also fun, and it’s loud, and it’s exciting, and it’s definitely big. But in and through all of that, it is good; I would even say purely, divinely good.
     The 19th century Danish theologian/philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote that “purity of heart is to will one thing” (He grounded his thoughts on the Letter of James), and the “one thing” the pure heart wills is God’s will or, if you prefer, God’s good. The problem is that we humans have a hard time willing that one thing. In Kierkegaard’s words (again following James), we are notoriously “double-minded.” We seek the good and so often choose the opposite. We proclaim the kingdom of God and serve the world. We profess love and choose hate. We want what is good, but when all is said and done, we really want what is good for US.
     Well, I believe Vacation Bible School is good—really good—and through that goodness shines a purity of heart.
     For months, under the wonderful leadership of Jennie Jackson, with help from Traci Lowry, Shawna Vincent, A.J. Fish, and others from our staff, various teams have been hard at work getting ready for Vacation Bible School. Next week more than 270 adult and student volunteers will show up early every day  to GIVE their time for 670 children from our church and community. There is no charge to the children; your financial support has seen to that. And the benefit to the church? The payoff for us? Well, some of them we will see again, perhaps, but most of the kids will be here for the week and move on. They’re not going to boost our membership (making your pastors look like wizards of evangelism); they’re not going to help us pay for our new building. They’re not going to do us much good at all.
     It is grace, the week of Vacation Bible School; it is goodness and joy given away for the sheer goodness and joy of it. There will be laughter and singing and fun; our volunteers will speak the good news of Christ and embody his love; the Holy Spirit will move in strange and wondrous ways; and the kingdom of God will shine through it all.
     Purity of heart is to will what God wills, and God’s will is that all God’s children might know the love that saves and fulfills. There is only one way to make that happen, and that’s to give it, to share it, to throw God’s love around lavishly, even foolishly. Some wonderful people will be doing that next week.
     If you want to see what the church is supposed to be at its purest and simplest, drop in on VBS. It’s going to be good, really, really good.
     Next week more than 270 adult and student volunteers will show up early every day
                                                                                                                                                In Christ,
                                                                                                                                                Mark Westmoreland
Author: Mark Westmoreland

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