Surrounded

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In our Fellowship Room at church, we have an area with coaches, chairs and end tables. This area is used a lot on Sunday. Some people will sit there during worship if they have difficulty sitting in the pews in our sanctuary. If you choose the right chair, you have a line of vision to the pulpit. But mainly people wait in those chairs. The high school and middle school kids will gather there before their meeting. People who need to wait for child or parent to finish a meeting wait there. If you come to church early, you will sit on the coaches and wait for more people to arrive before you enter the sanctuary.

Last year out church had a grant from the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship. We studied the Psalms and purchased six children’s books on the Psalms. One committee member suggested we put the children’s books on the end tables in the Fellowship Room. Those books stayed there for 6 months. Inspired by how much I have seen people page through those books, last week I removed the Psalms books and placed children’s Christmas books on the end tables. Many of these books were kept in the children’s classrooms and not seen by most people. On the first Sunday the books were out I saw a seventh grade boy paging through them and a mother reading a book to her 2 year old.

That got me thinking about how we have begun surrounding ourselves with God’s word in our church lately. Our Sunday School is using the new Dwell Curriculum from Faith Alive Christian Resources. One of the cool parts of that curriculum are the picture cards for each lesson. The teachers take these cards (that are about 8 inches square) and post them on the walls of the classrooms, adding another story card each week. Each week as I work in these rooms I see the picture cards posted on the walls and I think of the stories told. I’m sure I’m not the only one. As the year goes on, these story reminders surround the class.

Last year our church took the words of Psalm 133:1 and 3b, printed them in a large font and placed the verse around our sanctuary so our congregation was surrounded by these words:

How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.

The church has used strong visual images to help people know the truths of God’s word for a very long time so this is certainly nothing new. But these things – the books, the story cards and the Psalm verse – have all shown me the power of visual things. How have you surrounded your kids and your adults with God’s word?

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