This past week as I helped out at our Vacation Bible School I thought about attending VBS every year when I was a small boy. I thought about the lessons I learned at VBS and Sunday School and just how much those lessons had shaped my thinking and outlook on life. It was so reassuring to reflect on how the power of those lessons guided me through the years that I didn’t attend church regularly. It was like there was inside me a place where those lessons took root and survived through the seasons of life as a plant survives the seasons of the year. So, to me that childhood experience was critical.
The reason I went to VBS and Sunday School as a child is because my mom saw to it that I went. Mom reinforced the lessons I learned in the church by showing me how they fit in my life. So, the lessons of the church and the lessons from my mom laid the foundation for who I am today.
About 4 years ago one evening in Disciple Bible study class we discussed religion in the family. And, as we talked I realized that I didn’t know anything of my family’s history in the church. So, I called Mom and asked her. I knew that my dad’s side of the family didn’t attend church often so I figured my mom’s side of the family must have been the ones religious. I was wrong.
When I asked Mom about her family’s role in her religious life she told me how they rarely went to church. So, I asked where the religious life of our family come from if Dad’s family didn’t attend church often and your family didn’t attend church often. Mom’s reply was “When I was 6 years old another little girl asked me to come to Sunday School with her. She went to a Methodist Church and I liked the people I met there so I kept going.”
The strong words that helped shape my life, that today as an old man comfort me, came from a little girl to another little girl 83 years ago. So very simple, so very powerful. “Would you like to come to Sunday School with me?”
Friends and strangers, we affect each other’s lives profoundly, much more than we may ever know. My words to you, friend or stranger, “Would you like to come to church with me?”