We wanted to go to church last weekend while we were in South Dakota. We just lost grandma and it seemed like the right thing to do. We have a lot to be thankful for where death is concerned, you know.
You guys, there's just not words to the church service I experienced on Sunday. But I'm going to try to paint you a picture. Because this event? Should be shared.
I mean, sometimes you have really, really spiritual experiences at church. Sometimes things just move you a certain way and God speaks to you and you hear Him, really hear Him, during a sermon. Sometimes it seems like the preacher has your house bugged because of all of the relevant things he's preaching on.
And sometimes, it's VBS week.
Now, I don't even like VBS week at my own church. Last year, I remember being incredibly nervous by ALL THE CHILDREN EVERYWHERE AND OH MY COW THEY'RE PARADING DOWN THE AISLES AND THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM SWEET GOODNESS THEY'RE LIKE COCKROACHES AND DON'T YOU KNOW THAT IF THEY ORGANIZED THEMSELVES THEY COULD TAKE US ALL OUT!?
And then they sing their song, which makes me equally crazy, because half of them are jumping around the stage instead of singing, and the other half are doing stupid hand-motions to an infuriatingly annoying song. It's too much! TOO MUCH!
But this wasn't quite like that. In that there were 20 kids instead of 500. And they had to combine two towns' churches just to get that 20. And we were in the church basement. And we had to walk through a black lit hall with trashbags painted with spraypaint attached to the walls (evidently it was supposed to be "outer space").
At the beginning, the director lady got up and started reading her script to set up the song. It was about space and planets, and when the director lady said a certain phrase and pointed at the kids, they would scream "Praise God!" at the top of their lungs. And yes, God really does deserve the praise, but in my opinion, children do not need any excuse to scream more than they do, thankyouverymuch.
And it was a little boring, listening to her read from a script about space, but I figured, alright, she's going to read this, then they're going to sing, then they're going to sit down (or, even better, leave and go to Sunday School!) and we can have some grown-up time.
You guys, they sang six songs.
And in between every single one of them, the director lady read another section from her script. AND made us watch a little section of a DVD that took them 10 minutes to pull up every time. AND let each kid read something into the mic, AND most of the kids couldn't read, so she had to read it for them and then they would repeat what she said, so you'd hear her say "In the beginning..." and then the kid would repeat "in the beginning" into the microphone. "God created..." "God created..." And the other kids are all spinning around or jumping or something in the meantime.
At one point, there was a green monkey puppet. Seriously. Green. Monkey. Puppet. I'm still not quite clear on why it was green and what a monkey had to do with space, but I wasn't about to ask any questions.
At the end of the "program," the lady started to cry and thanked every person she had ever met and then the kids presented her with a giant card with candy stuck to it (remember that scene in The Office where Michael is at Ryan's business school class and he throws the candy at the people? I swear, you guys, they took lines directly from that scene for this card). "We've had SKITTLES of fun with you and MOUNDS of (Almond) JOY. We hope you have a PAYDAY because you are worth 1,000 GRAND!" And she's just standing there bawling.
It. Was. Surreal.
And then? The pastor got up, and he said "I was going to preach, but we ran out of time." I kid you not. They ran out of time for the sermon. Because VBS had actually dragged on that long. The only reason I know that it's over is that I'm sitting here writing about it, but for all I know, this part is a dream and I'm still at the VBS thing right now because IT NEVER ACTUALLY ENDED.
I think I may have gotten a glimpse of purgatory.