There are a number of things that set our VBS at Decatur First apart from VBS at other churches. One of those is Aunt Janice and the volunteer snack room. Friends, it is worth volunteering just to be able to go in there and experience the glory. Fresh baked cookies. Meatballs. Caramel cake. More cookies. Cupcakes. Veggies (not my cuppa, but if you're into that...they've got it). The list just goes on and on. It is luxury. I am not just saying this because my wife volunteered in there a few days.
In her sermon Sunday, Robin talked about being "VBS Tired." That's a special kind of tired reserved for all-in, pedal to the floor energy expense typically seen in your average VBS volunteer or a child in a swimming pool. It's how you feel when you've held nothing back--when you've left it all on the field.
That's where the snack room comes in. I'll speak only for myself. After an opening assembly and 2 classes of rambunctious kids, I hit a wall. But then I walk in the snack room. I say, "Morning everyone," and everyone says, "Norm!!!" (Just kidding, but seriously if we could work that out for net year that would be awesome). I have some grown-up conversation that doesn't include shouting and singing and dancing. I consume about 20395871203958710 very tasty calories. Then, and only then, I'm ready for another class of rambunctious kids and a closing assembly.
Sometimes I forget. At the most basic level, food is an energy source. The more energy we use, the more we need to consume. I don't even want to think about what VBS might look like here if we didn't have the snacks. By Friday we'd all be comatose and drooling on ourselves while the kids bounced off the walls all around us. But the snacks keep us all going. Energy in. Energy out. Wash, rinse, repeat. (Aunt Janice would want me to add: hydrate and nap.)
I have, from time to time, found a need for a sort of spiritual snack room. If I do this Christian thing right (which I don't always), it takes a lot out of me. Not just hours and calories. Emotional energy is what I mean. If we follow Christ, we are to pour ourselves out--to empty ourselves. When we do that, we rely on the Spirit to fill us back up.
BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? You know how I feel about vague theological platitudes, right? (If not, read here.) What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit...and where can we go to be filled?
Let me answer those in reverse order.
One of the best places to be Spiritually filled, at least for me, is...the VBS snack room. Remember those grown up conversations I mentioned? It's fellowship, y'all. It's connecting with people. It's celebrating that we're all in this together, we're all tired, and we're all doing it because we all know it's worth it. It's a place where people are invested in me--where people care about me--as much as I am invested and care about them...and maybe a little bit more (because it takes a special kind of love to make caramel cake that good). Put another way, I find coming together as the Body Spiritually filling. Energizing. I think that's why you used to hear people talk about Sunday morning worship as an experience that prepared them for the week ahead. I don't hear that as much anymore...maybe that's another conversation for another time.
Anyway, being filled with the Spirit, to me, means that I have the energy I need to respond to the world around me in a Christian way. After all, wasn't it Jesus who said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever."
It's possible that all I've done here is reveal myself to be an extrovert because I gain energy by being part of a group. I know not everyone is like that. But there are many gifts and only one Spirit. We are all part of the one body in the one Lord. And we are capable of so much when we embrace that singleness of purpose, each using our gifts to strengthen the other. Some making crafts while others do recreation. Some leading music while others tell stories. Some shepherding the kids around the building while others travel to mission sites with the 56ers.
And some providing snacks so we don't all collapse into a heap of goo.