In this morning's penultimate Bubblegum 'n' Fluff event for P6 children held in Trinity Church in Hamilton, I witnessed the transforming power of an encounter with Jesus. It is often (usually?) in surprising ways that we witness God at work, and today was no exception. (There's more...)
As I have mentioned in previous posts, as we pull the fluff from around the bubblegum to reveal what's underneath, and explore the reason why we celebrate Christmas we have three stories about Jesus and how he transformed the lives of many of those he met.
Steve Younger expertly tells the stories of Peter, Zacchaeus and Jairus' daughter. The transformation I witnessed today while Steve was sharing was with a group of boys (they are all around ten years old) I was sitting next to at the front. They were the rowdy boys of the class, the jokers, and obviously led by one particular character.
As Steve began the story of Peter, bigging him up as the loud mouth, the one who was always in the middle of any fight, the one who would push his way through any crowd, the other boys in the wee group near me kept looking at their ring-leader, and joking with each other about how he matched this Peter, and the boy in question had a beaming smile on his face as he joked with his friends.
I was fascinated to see how the dynamics would change as Steve swung the story around to Peter's bluster and how underneath it all he was weak, scared and intimidated, running away from Jesus despite all his promises. Sure enough, as the story developed, and as the boys realised that Peter was actually just as vulnerable as everyone else, perhaps even more so, their banter stopped, the followers were rapt with attention to Steve, and their ring-leader was left initially looking between Steve and the floor, before also being captured in the moment as we witnessed Peter being transformed by Jesus.
It was a wonderful moment.
Of course, twenty minutes later, the gang of boys were all joking away again, but in those minutes exploring how Jesus can make a difference I truly felt they got it, they understood, they realised there could be a different way. We sow the seeds.