I remember the first year that I was too old to attend Vacation Bible School. For me, VBS was a welcomed activity that provided fun games, social connections, and learning opportunities. Unlike school, VBS was pressure-free, with no grades, although the uncomfortable moments of answering questions before a group were challenging. Fortunately, most of the serious stuff occurred in group settings directed by some loving church volunteers. But now, I’m too old., the Cool-Aid and cookie treat, now past, are eternal reminders of refreshments under a shade tree and special ladies who didn’t mind breaking rules and giving extra.
VBS helped mold my life. The generosity of many, the tolerance given to me, even the Preacher taking time to play softball with Junior Boys, were impactful. I think softball with “us” guys may be the most important sermon ever preached. I fondly remember popsicle sticks and molded plaster fruit awaiting artful hands for colorful assembly. Besides the self-esteem of completing a task, the smile on Mom’s face when I handed her my gift was priceless. Maybe, VBS encouraged my artistic talents.
VBS did solidity moral training, encourage acceptance of others, and introduce me to a guy named Jesus. I learned that Jesus was able to heal, to raise the dead, and to tell the “religious folk” of his day to stop hurting people like me. I found Jesus of interest, years later in my life, I found Jesus to be a friend. For that insight to Christ’s friendship, I thank Dr, R. I. Cocke whose testimony of Christ’s friendship given to my Junior VBS Class eternally changed my life. From the day Dr, Cocke shared his love for Jesus Christ. I could never get out of my mind the sincerity of Dr. Cocke’s words. So on May 3, 1970, I solidified my personal relationship with Jesus, with VBS having provided the foundation.
I smile when I think of VBS. I smile when I think of the wonderful people whose commitment made VBS possible. I smile when I think of the coat hangers, the popsicle sticks. and all the stuff from which gifts were fashioned. I smile at the songs learned, the Bible verses memorized, the pledges, the marching training. Yes, the marching to assembly, following the flags and the Bible, the march to the beginning of wonderful memories. Sadly, for many children today, VBS has been replaced but for me, it is as alive as ever, even if I am too old to attend!