I want to thank all of the volunteers that worked at Point Hope’s Vacation Bible School this past week. I want to thank each of the parents and children. It was a blessing to Mike and me because it was the first full VBS our kids have experienced and they LOVED it! Evy was hesitant to to go to school in the summer until she and Enoch experienced all the fun of Cave Quest and the characters that taught them about Jesus. We celebrated our Cave Quest VBS singing Light of the World and This Little Light of Mine this past Sunday. In the middle we had our children’s sermon, in the mystery box, the little girl who was visiting her grandmother who had been one of the helpers at VBS, put in a rock crystal and a flashlight. I talked about how we all look like ordinary rocks until you look on the inside and one of the children piped up and said we “sparkle.” The love of Jesus makes us sparkle and we need to share it with others. The flashlight can be used to see our sparkle when we forget Whose we are and we can let others know that they have sparkle inside them too. I encouraged them if we all shine our lights together then the whole world will sparkle.
During the choir’s beautiful anthem, I started thinking about the kids and how they’re going to grow up in a different world than any of us. Are they prepared? Are they prepared with the full armor of God as they go out every day? Even in our homes are we protecting them from seeing the horrors of the news and if we let them see bits and pieces are we answering their questions resting in God to give us the answers? Answers that bring more peace and love into the world. It’s not only scary “out there,” but it’s scary “in here” as we try to answer questions that have hard answers or don’t have any. And yet, they give me hope each week. The child-like faith. We need to have it. I believe in the South Carolina motto “Dum Spiro Spero” or in English “While I breathe, I hope.” I’m hopeful that if we DO shine our lights for ALL the world to see and resist hiding it under a bushel and we DO the hard work of putting into PRACTICE the big and small ways of what makes for peace. As Jesus thought to himself on the way to the cross in Luke 19:42, “42 saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” It comes out not only when we talk about politics, but it comes in the entire fullness of life. In our conversations with THAT co-worker or THAT family member, in our interactions with gas station clerks or the cashiers at the grocery store, in our day-to-day lives 24*7*365. I know it’s a struggle with all of the chaos swirling around us. That’s why I’m careful of what influences and shapes my world view.
My mom and I were going to Isle of Palms and there is a big American flag on the top of the bridge. I commented the flag has been at half mast a lot lately. Our world is hurting and grieving and mourning; or their apathetic and over it because they can’t handle anymore heartache. Jesus promises to be there with us in the mountaintops and the valleys and I think he calls us to do the same. I’ll leave you what I was led to read this morning.
5When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
May we live the light of Christ. May we shine the light of Christ showing the world they have God’s sparkle inside of them. May we do the things that make for peace whether it be prayer, responding in love, or being careful in what influences us. May we get through this TOGETHER because we’re stronger, wiser, and more attuned to the Shepherd’s voice when we are living in Christ-centered community.
Holy and Gracious God,
As we gather here in the harbour of your safety
We thank you for fellowship and family.
We ask that you will strengthen us, restore us and inspire us with your love.
Lord, would you fill us with your peace
So that as we journey onwards
We would pour out your love and grace to others.
We ask that our souls would catch the wind of your spirit
so that we would take your promises to all the earth.