This afternoon was the final session of the after-school club I’ve been leading in the primary school for the last couple of terms. The teacher who normally runs it had been on sick-leave, and it’s been a real delight for me to spend time with the kids. My vocation to ministry originally expressed itself in children’s work, and I’d been missing regular doses of Primary common-sense since it took a back-seat when I started at vicar-school. For me, the snappily titled “Christian Club” has felt just like coming home.
For our last afternoon together, I’d planned an time of fun and games, till events intervened. Instead I took in a bundle of to-day’s papers, assorted magazines and a large cardboard cross that the Youth Group had used in a recent drama. We talked together about the horror in London, and then I suggested that the children might cut out some pictures and stick them on the cross, reminding them (and myself) that the cross proclaims that there is nothing so sad, so lost or broken that God cannot redeem it.
The children set to with enthusiasm. Very early on, H. showed me a picture she’d found…
“Jesus is here in this…” she said “ Look, the woman who’s helping that wounded man has a cross around her neck”
And so she did.
Then, one by one, the children started showing me other pictures of Jesus in the situation…of firemen and medics, of victims holding and supporting each other.
They asked to use the computer, and wrote one word prayers “Peace” “Light” “Forgiveness” and stuck those on the cross as well.
By the time the hour was up, they had made a beautiful statement of trust in redemption…and we'd found time to make our own "hope" pebbles, too, to counter any fears the pictures might have awakened. What a good thing I can't manage alt. worship without bags of stones.
I'm taking the finished cross up to church this evening, and will probably use it as the basis of my sermon for Sunday
Goodness is stronger than evil;
love is stronger than hate;
light is stronger than darkness;
hope is stronger than despair.