Saturday, April 4, 2015

Glow in the Dark

My Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group held a glow in the dark Easter egg hunt this evening. I gave a small lesson before sending the kids off with their buckets and flashlights to grab eggs and glow bracelets. We had a better than expected turnout. It was a really awesome evening.

But back to my lesson. I had originally asked my husband (THE PASTOR) to do it. After some back and forth, it was decided that I would give the lesson. After 10 years of classroom teaching and still more of Sunday school, I didn't think it would be that big of a deal. How hard could it be to speak to a bunch of kids about Jesus, right?

As the families filed into the sanctuary, my palms got damp and I kept nervously touching my hair. It seemed like half the town was there! I didn't want to back out, but I did want to do my best. As I gathered the kids around me, I launched into my message, adjusting a bit here and there to match interest level and attention span.  

Here is what I had prepared to say:

Who is afraid of the dark?

It's ok to be afraid of the dark.  The dark is scary. But what comes after night?

So even when we're scared, we won't be scared forever, we know that things are going to be OK, eventually.

The Easter story is kinda like that.

On Good Friday, Jesus died. His friends pretended not to know him. 

Some people, who one week ago, on Palm Sunday, were shouting with joy at his arrival in town, were suddenly calling for him to die. Some people were scared and confused about what was happening around them. Jesus died in a scary and shameful and painful way.   

So if Good Friday makes us sad, why do Christian's call it "good".  

Because after three days of dark and sadness and shame and fear, there was light, and hope, and joy again when Jesus rose from the dead. 

His friends, who had felt so sad that they hadn't been able to save Jesus, their friend, were amazed that he was risen. The women, who were first to see that Jesus wasn't in the tomb, were overjoyed. And they all didn't feel so sad and ashamed and fearful anymore.

They felt God's love instead, experienced through Jesus. 

So why are we doing a glow in the dark Easter egg hunt?  

The lights among the setting sun outside remind us that Jesus is the light, so we don't need to be afraid. You can keep the glow bracelets that you find to remind you that Jesus is the light. I bet they'll glow until you fall asleep, so you don't need to be afraid of the dark tonight.  But by morning we will celebrate Jesus' rising from the dead on Easter Sunday. 

(Invite everyone to tomorrow's services and MOPS meeting.)

Now, I'm pretty sure that all those things didn't come out of my mouth. I think I may have even forgotten to introduce myself. But no matter what, I know my message was heard. And most of the kids knew all about Easter, which is awesome! 

My favorite part about the lesson is how Jesus is our light. Light drives out fear, and doubt, and despair, and shame. And if some glow in the dark bracelets from the dollar store can help illustrate that point for our children, then I'll start stocking up for next year.

Maybe it wasn't my words tonight that touched someone (it probably wasn't), but the welcome of our congregation. I really felt like something special happened tonight. 

And something even more special will happen in the morning. Light wins. Love wins. 
Happy Easter, everyone.

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