It’s already melt season. I suppose we could get another round of snow storms, but already we can see the road outside our house. Usually we would not expect this for another month. My friends (in this area) are posting pictures of crocuses on Facebook. Global warming?
I want to write about some encouraging things that have happened in the last few weeks… besides the melting snow.
Keith and I were away from home for 3 weeks during the end of January and the beginning of February. As often happens when we take time off for a conference or vacation, appointments and responsibilities got crammed in before and after we go. The day after we returned, I was scheduled to give the Sunday school message.
The usual pattern for the Sunday school message has been that the children sit in chairs in rows while one of the leaders stands at the front and gives a talk or tells a story. Keith and I have been trying some different models. If it’s a story they know well, we get them to tell the story. That worked well on Easter Sunday. Once, Keith had the kids act out the story of the good shepherd as a play. That time the story got a bit out of hand—the so-called “good shepherd” let the robber into the sheep pen and the sheep were overjoyed to be “attacked.” Oops.
|The shepherd and the thief "fight" while the "sheep" enjoy the show|
To return to the Sunday school message a few weeks ago, I was assigned the story of the feeding of the 5000; thankfully, this story was included in my book. Unfortunately I didn’t have sufficient time to practice reading it aloud—I was busy preparing my visual aid: a bento. (As a cultural aside, this story is a favorite among children in Japan, since they love going on picnics and eating a bento lunch.)
|Opening my bento box. That day I had yakiudon. What story does this remind you of, kids?|
|Reading the story together|
Last Sunday, another encouragement: our budding middle-school musicians accompanied the Sunday school worship time. I think it’s no surprise that one middle-school girl brought a friend for the first time on this particular occasion. It’s as if she was saying to her friend, “This is my family, my church—I belong here.” This makes me want to give each of these children more opportunities to contribute their gifts to the life of the church, fully expecting that God will make their contributions bear fruit.
|A-chan on piano, Ko-kun on guitar, Ke-kun on cajon. (A-chan's friend in the foreground.)|
I like to help people find their “bento”: what is God asking that person to contribute? What is it that God has given her that she needs to offer back to him? What is it that God wants to multiply? Our offerings may seem as insignificant as a small child’s bento, but God uses them! I trust that God will continue to multiply the eagerness of each of these children to serve—and use this eagerness for his glory!