I've gotta admit-- I've been grumpy, really grumpy for weeks now. Sure there have been breaks of sunlight and divine fun (such as playing monopoly and eating brownies with my beloved this weekend), but this school business has really had me in a funk. And then with my boss' mom dying and all that, I've been holding down the fort at the children's home-- and I guess I just had too much on my plate.
In my preaching class, we've really been digging deeply into the first 15 chapters of Exodus-- we've enacted the stories... we've engaged the text... and somehow we've always managed to embody our particular text. And for some reason, this dramatic story of Exodus has really been hitting home for me-- but especially last week during class when we had to deal with (embody? yeah, we were seriously playing frogs and locusts and running around the room)the plagues and face the brokenness of the people. And then immediately on the heals of that, we did the song of Moses-- and it really hit me what an amazing song it is-- it's a victory chant any way you slice it. I'm under the impression that we've (as a society!)become generally anesthetized--nothing shocks or stirs us. But all of the sudden, this text stirred me. And I realized the mighty ways that God was intimately involved even in the middle of some serious poo.
I said all that to say that I was really in the mood for a celebration--and thus, I decided to hold a pep rally for God last night at chapel at the children's home. My kids are really hard to get to-- and they'd often just as soon sit in the back with their headphones on or talking about each other (DON'T GET ME STARTED!) But I know they are carrying some mighty big stuff-- stuff that most people twice or three times their age couldn't handle well. I know that they need a safe place to go with all those feelings, and yeah, I know they need to be reminded of the mighty, though often unseen, ways that God is carrying them. I realized that it would probably not be a hard exercise for them to list their "plagues"... and so I had them do that. And then I took them to the text of the Song of Moses/Miriam-- to the place of reconciliation and restoration. And I invited them to make banners for God, and they came up with some really great things like "God is Love!", "God will see me through!", and my personal favorite, "God is a superstar--he is my hero!" For a normal youth group-- this might not have been an event to write home about-- but for my kids it was. My kids often only come to chapel because it gets them out of going to character education, or because their friends are there. These aren't what you would call "churchy" kids. But they made these banners and we reread the text, intermingling the yelling out of the banner phrases with the words of the text. There was clapping and cheering and yelling... and redemption. It was loud and rowdy, and certainly not like any "healing and wholeness" service in my Book of Common Worship--but God was surely in that place. Thanks be to God!!