We just finished our Celebration of the Children and it was brilliant! Thirty some years ago our pastors conceived the idea of a church calendar where sacred events would be celebrated as a church family. We would celebrate the faithful, that “cloud of witnesses” such as the ones listed in Hebrews 11. We would set aside time to “turn and become like children.” The Celebration of Life Together would be time set aside to do just that.
But this week we celebrated God’s gift to us in our children. We usually start with a basic theme for the week, and this year we chose “time travel.” After a wonderful visit to the Dreamworks concert at the Hollywood Bowl, we had our spectacular opening day. Our seven kids became time travelers for the day. After climbing into their time machines they traveled to 6 destinations in history where they were needed to solve problems.
Each followed a different route to various times in history. They visited Ancient Greece where they trained for the Olympics in archery and javelin throwing and learned how to use their brains and the pulley system. There was a visit to Medieval Times where the children rescued the princess from a dragon lady with the help of a trusty steed and knights. They stopped in to help some cave people interpret their cave drawings and throw some rocks. Pyramid building and hieroglyphics were on the agenda for Ancient Egypt, and their help was required in China’s Ming Dynasty to repair the Great Wall and repel marauders. We all ended up in the Chat N Chew, a 50’s diner where we enjoyed shakes, floats, and burgers and danced at the sock hop.
We swam and played games together at the pool. The rest of the week we took day trips to the zoo, railroad museum, miniature golf, and flew some kites together. At night we gathered to play games, watch movies, and enjoy a crazy mixed-up dinner at the Time Travel Inn. We gave thanks at each gathering, and as the week closed we once again realized the great gifts God has given us in our children. Jesus himself blessed the children and exhorted us to become like them. Once again God teaches us through a Child. We look forward to the rest of our celebrations this year, especially anticipating our Celebration of the Faithful in August.
El Segundo Christian Church fireplace
You won’t find this on MTV’s “Spring Break”! Today a busload of teenagers and adults from Texas is arriving in El Segundo, California, donating time off work and school to improve a church building desperately in need of help. New lighting will be installed and new coats of paint will “cover a multitude” of scars, bumps, and bruises. New ramps will be installed for easy wheelchair access.
There will be hauling, scraping, prepping, digging, cleaning, and no doubt some complaining too. But there will be joy and laughter, and probably some drama and tears, as well. This is a far cry from Cabo San Lucas, wet t-shirt contests, and endless drinking competitions! Christians rolling up their sleeves and helping other Christians, and finding joy and purpose in doing so, is just what this me-first world needs to see.
Donating time and energy on behalf of others which in no way benefits oneself is the love of Christ made manifest. These “girls gone wild” will be outdoing one another in helpfulness and servant-hood. What a concept! And there will be no hangover in the morning.
“Above all, hold unfailing your love for one another.” It’s Valentine’s Day and the table is laden with gifts: candy, cards, mugs, gift boxes, home-made pictures, bookmarks, and other mementos of the day of “love.” This unfailing tradition of including all on this day typically reserved only for romantic love elevates the occasion. One single young lady remarked, “Thanks for this day. I never enjoyed it before because I didn’t have a boyfriend.” Indeed, isn’t this how Christ loved us-without regard to our “dating status?” Tradition holds that St. Valentine protested the Roman edict against marriages by secretly performing weddings, ultimately paying with his life. In the spirit of this saint, we extend the gifts of love to all in the family which God has given us. Thoughtfulness and encouragement are always needful, perhaps especially on this day when so many feel left out in the romance category. “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2)