What a joyous week we had! Central’s Vacation Bible School was excellent, thanks to the talented and organized Laura Miller. The theme was “God: Our Mighty Fortress” and I hope that by the end of the week the children really understood God as our fortress and refuge. The transformation of our building into a fortress was amazing.
I had an unusual (for me) job. Each day I got to teach a Bible verse to the children. The ways they learned the verse were reading from the Bible, seeing a poster, singing with the recorded accompaniment, and expressing it with sign language.
Sign language? Not something I’ve ever studied, though I’ve always thought it would be great to know. But the teacher’s book had written instructions and also a video to go with it, and with practice I learned the signs we needed.
Some words were repeated in the verses: God, refuge, strength. As I expected, the children picked up on all of it much quicker than I had, but I was glad I’d had a trip to Louisville and back to listen to the songs and learn them. Then I could just add the signing to each.
An impressive part of each song was saying the reference at the end. We didn’t use the word reference, of course, but instead we talked about the “code” for finding things in the Bible. They loved it and I just wished they’d had more time for it.
We had some issues with translation differences! For example, the verse to go with the triumphal entry of Jesus to Jerusalem was Zechariah 9:9. Our NIV Bibles said: “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” But the song was from the ESV, and it only used the middle part, which was completely different wording: “Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he.” So we had the sign language for behold and having salvation rather than see and victorious. Small differences, but it got confusing for the children reading it. And I couldn’t really change it because the recording used the ESV, and that helped them learn it.
Since I had four groups for 15-18 minutes each, I could improve my efforts based on how the first one went. I felt a bit sorry for them as my “guinea pigs,” but they still learned their verses well.
So those who came every day learned five Bible verses set to music, as well as what they learned at other classes. They were involved and enthusiastic and really seemed to enjoy learning them. (Well, except for the four-year-olds. Not so much. I never saw all 14 of them sitting down at the same time, or all 14 looking at me at the same time, or all 14 listening at the same time. Some never. I admire those women that care for them all day long! I have no illusions as to whether they learned anything. )
The children who attended were from our church, friends who came with them, and the daycare in our Education Building. Many of those children are not churched and it was all new to them, but they embraced it. A few came for our Sunday service when the children sang their songs and said a verse. They were so excited to be there, and we were so glad to have them. You can listen here.
The verse the children presented on Sunday was Psalm 46:1—“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
The last one we learned was Revelation 4:8—“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” What wonderful verses for children to have on their minds and hearts!