Category Archives: Kids

Generations

We went to a fantastic fireworks display this year, and for once we had great seats.  Not only that, but just a couple cars down was a family with several little boys who really made the show for us.  When the first round of fireworks went off, I think the gasps and shrieks and look-at-thats lasted longer than the gold sparks drifting through the sky.  A few minutes later, after a gigantic blue explosion, one yelled, “Hey, it’s my favorite color!”  The highlight came later, though, when there was about a ten-second pause in the show and the entire parking lot was quiet.  Over the hush, one screamed, “Get with the fireworks already!”  We pretty much died laughing, but they were still going strong.  As the finale started to build, we heard one more shout, “Yeah, baby!”  Way to end your show, boys. 

We talked and laughed and oohed and ahhed.  We laughed at the little boys and thought about how different and simple and exciting things were when we were younger.  All of us “old” teenagers and twenty-somethings got a little bit nostalgic about being so little.  We had a grand time. 

Of course, I also did a little bit of people watching.  About halfway through the show, I noticed something about the couple sitting on the other side of us.  Thing is, they were watching us the same way we were watching those little boys.  We were the young people, carelessly enjoying ourselves. 

I was recently arguing with someone (actually, I had the same debate with several people) about which Superhero is the best embodiment of the American ideal. Yes, I’m a geek. The debate always seemed to come to a question of when rather than who. At a time in our history, Superman was the American dream realized. Later, Captain America was the perfect poster boy. Now, well, one guy argued it should be Iron Man and I sort of agree. Because America has changed, because America is changing, it’s hard to pin one down. America is not the same country it was, and that can be a little scary. Some things are the same, though. Each generation can look down on the next, seeing the same laughter and hope that they experienced when they were younger and think that, maybe, we’ll be okay.

Advertisements

He Is Risen!

Yes, I know I’m a day late. That said, I will say that I had a wonderful Resurrection Day, and I hope all of you did as well. Like I do every other Sunday, I taught a class of three to five year olds yesterday morning. For Easter, I have a special lesson I like to do. It’s a story of a little boy who lived in Jerusalem back in New Testament times. The story follows him through Holy Week. One of the things he does is collect mementos of everything that happened and puts them in a little wooden box. For my lesson, I have a box filled with the same things he collected that I let the kids look at. There are things like a clump of donkey fur that came off in the boy’s hand when he tried to get close to Jesus on Palm Sunday, a broken cup found after the Last Supper, and a strip of leather and a thorn from when Jesus was being tortured.

One of the last items is a spike from the site of the crucifixion. I was able to get an old rail road spike for my box, which is big, heavy, and scary looking. That always gets the kids’ attention. When we talked about how they put that through His wrists and His feet, the kids seemed to really understand that more than before. I thought one little girl was seriously going to start crying. A little boy asked me why I was reading them such a bad story, where all these sad things happened. All of the kids were so indignant and saddened that they would do those things to Jesus. They wanted to know why Jesus would let that happen, which led into a beautiful chance to remind them all of the gospel story.

But the whole thing left me feeling very convicted. How easily I take for granted the great price He paid for me! How many times I had coldly taken that spike in my hand, without one thought of the agony it represents! How often do put the gold cross around my neck just as part of preparing for the day without stopping to truly realize what it means! Our culture is permeated with the cross… bumper stickers, church signs, jewelry, t-shirts… everywhere we look we find the symbol of Christ’s bloody death for us. Yet of all the times our eyes fall on that image, how often do we stop to think of His overpowering love and torturous death for us? I fear not nearly often enough. As the hymn says:

May I never lose the wonder, the wonder of the cross
May I see it like the first time, standing as a sinner lost
Undone by mercy and left speechless, watching wide-eyed at the cost
May I never lose the wonder, the wonder of the cross

 He lived a life of poverty. He was betrayed by a friend. He was tried unfairly. He was found guilty though He had committed no crime. He was beaten, mocked, and tortured. He was killed in the most agonizing, drawn out, brutal manner of the day. He died in desolation, crying out that God Himself had forsaken Him. Like the little boy in my class said, it would be a sad, bad story, if that was the end. Thank God it’s not!

He rose! He loved us enough to die the most horrible of deaths, but He didn’t stay in the grave. What greater message of hope could we find? The grave has been defeated! Death, the last and greatest of enemies has been conquered! Praise God! He is risen indeed!