Last week, I was a part of the best Vacation Bible School ever. Every two years, we do a big production for our VBS - in 2005 it was Jerusalem Marketplace, in 2007 it was Galilee by the Sea, and this year it was Rome: Paul and the Underground Church. Each of these is a Group kit. I don't know about the rest of their curriculum, but they do VBS well, particularly this Rome one. My only complaint would be their Bible translation, but that's another story.
We had fantastic participation from our church family and good response from the community. In fact, our local weekly newspaper had a front page feature picture of "Paul" and his house-arrest guard "Brutus" (way to go Brian and Dylan - have fun with that at work!).
There was one particular highlight this week. One dramatic sketch (they interrupt the marketplace time with on-theme dramas) took an unexpected turn. The story was that the food booth merchant was offering free samples of "sweet bread." While she wasn't looking, a young woman carrying a baby stole a basket of bread. A soldier - a tough guy we had prowling around all week - caught her and was preparing to take her to prison for a flogging and incarceration.
What was in the script was that the merchant - a Christ-follower - was to hurry back to her stall to get money to give to the mother to pay for the bread, a great illustration of ill-deserving favour, i.e. God's grace to us sinners.
What wasn't in the script was several kids offering their money to the poor criminal. The kids recieved a pouch each day with 3 Roman Denarii. They used this money to do marketplace things - including buying food for their snack. They needed that money. I don't know who made the first move, but lots of kids rushed up with a coin held high to "save" this poor thief.
That was cool. I think the kid - and adults - will remember the big idea of that evening, which was, "God's love saves us."
Anyway, I'm proud of my church for the great job they did in teaching and serving a bunch of kids last week. I think they had fun, too!