Tuesday afternoon, Al and I embarked on “a round (Bible) trip to the time of Noah,” as his official VBS ticket indicates. We had been invited by the pastor at a church we visited back in July, and I signed Al up. It made a good activity for the last week before school starts (a week from today), and I was intrigued by the idea of an overnight VBS.
There are still some churches in town that still run a traditional daytime VBS program. But as so many families have both parents working during the day, many churches have switched to an evening format. This gives adults the opportunity to volunteer without having to take vacation days from work. And at least at the church where I helped run an evening VBS, there were a lot of men involved, which (in my experience) is rare in a daytime VBS.
I don’t know this church’s reason for the overnight format, or whether they had done it before. We started at 4 PM (which would normally be early for me, but since I am working from5 AM to 2 PM this week, it was no problem), and the children participated in a wide variety of activities before heading to bed at about 10 PM. Staying overnight was optional, but required a parent or grandparent to stay also. I would guess at least half the children left before bedtime.
For me – especially having been up since 4 AM – it was nice to be there more as spectator than participant. I did greatly enjoy meeting Noah, and watching him tell his story to the children, and show them all the tools he had to use. I found myself wondering just what kind of tools were available back in Noah’s time, whenever that was. (Personally I am inclined toward the view that the flood was “universal” in that it affected the whole “known world” at the time, but was not global.)
Our Noah was careful to include no power tools, though the food and water buckets looked suspiciously like plastic. I also am fairly certain that kerosene lanterns, while quite antique in appearance, were way ahead of Noah’s time. Noah helped us get an idea of the ark’s dimensions by pointing out that it would reach from the room we were in all the way to the elementary school on the other side of the neighboring church. I looked out the door and could only try to imagine the immense proportions of the boat.
Like any VBS, this had music (how soon will “Who Built the Ark?” stop going through my head?) and several crafts, plus “pin the animals on the ark,” water games, and – after dark – a bonfire, complete with hot chocolate and s’mores. Supper was pretty good, consisting of:
- Soggy Logs
- Pitch sandwiches
- Noah mix
- Rabbit food
- Cow sticks
- Vineyard special
- Boat juice
I have decided, however, that next time I sleep on board a boat, even one disguised as a Sunday School classroom, I need extra padding under my sleeping bag.