A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how much I enjoyed Paul’s “salutations” found at the end of his letters in the New Testament, and how I thought that we might sometimes stifle the Spirit of gratitude when we want to give thanks and “name names,” but are afraid of leaving anyone out. With that in mind, I decided to approach this week’s pastor’s perspective, written on the heels of a wonderful week of Vacation Bible School, as a Pauline salutation. I know my heart is as overjoyed with the outpouring of work and love that I witnessed from so many of our church members—so it won’t be hard to give voice to these particulars:
My dear co-laborers in the Gospel at University Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma: Though I have been caught up on the third Heaven for the past week tinkering with great and awesome mysteries from the natural world that would be sure to draw in the attention of the young disciples (along with your brother David, who proved to be quite adept at these projects himself), I have witnessed many great things taking place that I wanted to bring to your attention. I was aware that just next door, your sisters Kristen and Pam were also laboring in the same efforts as I, and they deserve recognition for their own efforts. If not for them and their willingness to share their sacred scriptures and instructions with us, (for I had misplaced my own) we would have been lost at sea.
Many times throughout each evening, we were visited by scores of children eager to learn what new craft we had for them, and though you know I have spoken with great warning about the practice of magic, it seems that many of the mysterious revelations were great tools for keeping the children’s attention while also providing an avenue for sharing the great truths of our faith, so David and I carried on with our task in the sure and certain hope that the Spirit of Jesus was working through them.
As the Lord had commanded his disciples to “let the little children come unto him,” we utilized each evening to share the Gospel in a way that they could understand. Our Lord’s charge to be a shepherd for his children was carried out quite handily by your sisters and brothers Diane, Claire, Braden, Dan, Jessica, Korie, Saletha, Lily, Trevor, Kyle, Daniel, Carly, Steve, and Catren. I remember several of the children coming in humming Psalms that I heard echoing from the second Heaven just below me. I was quite certain that our sister Kathy was instructing them to sing just as our Lord had sung on that night he had gathered his disciples in the upper room.
Be sure to tell our sisters Lana and Donna and Carol and Martha and Karen that I miss their cooking, and that I look forward to it again. It was truly amazing that Karen was able to organize the feeding of so many, and I was reminded of the story of our Lord feeding the multitudes with only a few fishes and loaves. I am also impressed with the memorable crafts that were designed by one of the artists of our community, Julie, and assisted by the always faithful Veda, Mary Faith, and Killian, the artistry exhibited by the children perhaps will even bring their parents to a fuller appreciation for the wondrous works of the Lord.
The little children wouldn’t have even been able to get in the door without the efforts of Doris, (standing in for Peter in his usual job as gatekeeper), and the wonderful care for the littlest ones among us by the kind and gentle Anna, Noel, Serena, Leah, and Jessica were integral to the week’s efforts as well. Brad, Kendall, Steffanie, Steve, Bruce, and David were very capable portraying the heroes of our faith for the children, and Kendel and Kaili were true to the task that was asked of them and saw to the administrative tasks at hand (even though the ladies nearby seemed to be having so much fun making crafts, and I’m quite sure they would have preferred to join in).
Lastly, it is no small thing to orchestrate such an event, and I know for a fact that our sisters Maegen and Lara toiled many long hours to hammer out the details and envision each particular area of focus. They are women of note among the apostles, and for them not only I but all the churches of Tulsa give thanks. (Our brother Dan, overseer of the Tulsa churches, and advisor to Bishop Robert, took personal interest in our endeavor, and even sent funds from the collection laid at the apostles’ feet to support this ground breaking and collaborative effort with our sisters and brothers at Nueva Esperanza Church. He also sends his commendation and charges us to press on.) And I know you will, University Church! You have exemplified the Body of Christ, and I am proud of you all!