Curiosity and Wondering

Before we put Vacation Bible School (VBS) completely out of our minds, I wanted to take a minute to reflect back on the takeaways from a week that zoomed by so quickly.  There were plenty of takeaways about what kinds of things worked well this year and what kinds of things we could do differently in the future, but if I let myself take off the organizational-administrator hat for just a second, I think there was a deeper takeaway that is worth sharing more broadly. 

The theme of the week was “Digging for Treasure” and had a strong emphasis on the parables of Jesus.  Early on, we talked about how parables are a kind of story that Jesus told to help his listeners be curious about what it means to love the world around us like God loves.  Each night we heard a parable read and watched it acted out in the opening gathering.  Afterward, the children were invited to consider a few “wondering questions” related to the story.

Curiosity and wondering were foundational to everything we did at VBS.

After the opening gathering and the invitation to wondering about the story, the different age groups then rotated through different areas where they had a chance to practice their curiosity and wondering.  How do I decorate this mirror in such a way that I am reminded of the ways God loves me when I see my reflection?  What can I learn about relying on others while I play a game that requires us to help each other reach a goal?  What does getting my hands dirty planting a seed help me understand about why some things grow and others don’t? 

I think sometimes when we think about faith formation in children and youth we can get bogged down trying to figure out what we want them to know or believe, what milestones they should reach and when.  I walked away from VBS last week, however, with a renewed sense that faith formation for both children and adults is largely built upon an invitation to curiosity and wondering.  When we are being creative, when we are playing, when we are working, or when we are doing the simple everyday things of life, do we make room for wondering how we love like God loves?  Are we curious about the stories that help reveal God to us? 

This kind of faith formation still requires us to be intentional about making these invitations to spaces of curiosity, but I think it frees us from feeling as though there is a right answer or an end goal we just need to grasp if we try hard enough. 

“Vacation” may be coming to an end, but my hope is that we can find all kinds of “Bible School” spaces in our lives where we can continue to wonder, to be curious, and to grow deeper into the mysteries of God.