See and Believe
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Dear Friends in Christ,

Happy sixth Sunday of Easter! Did you know that we are still celebrating Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus, and the empty tomb?!? If you can remember back six weeks ago, on Easter Sunday, Fr. Mahon challenged us to say (only if we believed it) “I see and I believe” in response to the tomb being empty. That response and our call to bear witness to it has really stuck with me this Easter season.

One of the places that helps me “see and believe” year after year is Vacation Bible School (VBS). It was through my experience volunteering for VBS years ago, both in high school and college, that I vividly remember beginning to realize that it was possible to see Christ in everyday circumstances.

For several years I helped lead the songs and dance moves for the children at VBS. I have zero musical talent but as a young person, dance was a huge part of my life. It brought me so much joy helping children to sing and move their bodies as a way to praise God. The children so freely participated and trusted me to lead them which allowed me to see the face of God in them. A theologian, Frederick Buechner, beautifully sums up what I learned through this experience “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Now, as a mother, I have the opportunity to relive the joy of VBS through my own children’s experiences. I saw the joy VBS music and dance brought our boys when they were preschoolers as they practiced the songs and dances in our living room. Even now, ten months after our last VBS, we are still jamming out to VBS music in the van daily! Last summer, I witnessed our second-grader meet the face of Christ in three junior/high school boys who helped lead different parts of VBS. Gus thought it was so cool seeing “big kids” helping and participating, which encouraged him to feel confident to be himself and participate, when sometimes he can think it’s ‘un-cool’ to participate.

As a Formation Director who gets to help coordinate VBS here at St. John’s, I witness people of all ages “seeing and believing,” some for the first time and others for the hundredth time, but always in new ways. Last summer, I witnessed a grandmother volunteering with her teenage granddaughter experience such joy at getting to know more about each other as together, they learned about the saints and taught the children at VBS. I saw a St. Pius X schoolteacher volunteering his time to lead kids in games helping them recognize God all around them. I watched preschoolers holding hands, patting each other’s backs, and asking for help when one of their friends was crying as they got dropped off. It was through these and so many more examples that I was able to see Easter joy lived out, helping me to confidently respond “I see, and I believe!” Thanks to these children and volunteers of all ages bearing witness to me that Christ is alive and present among us.

I would like to invite you to experience this joy by registering your child or grandchild, or by inviting a neighbor friend to come and join us the mornings of June 26-July 1st. I would like to invite 5th-12th graders and adults of all ages to consider volunteering and finding where your gladness and God-given
talents can serve and bring joy to the children of our Church family! You’ll find more information in the bulletin and on our website. I hope you’ll join me in bearing witness to what we have seen and what we believe!

Megan Rodriguez

Sign up for Vacation Bible School here

Volunteer by contacting Megan Rodriguez via mrodriguez@sj.org