May 1, 2014

If a good friend, while having coffee, asked you how you would define salvation, how would you respond? Don’t worry about how your pastor would define this term, or a Sunday School teacher or Bible study leader – but how would you define salvation? What does this central tenet of Christianity mean to you?

One of the challenges of Vacation Bible Camp every year is to find ways to teach to our children about salvation. Salvation is essential to the Christian faith, tying together ideas of liberation, deliverance and redemption. Scripture defines salvation in a multiplicity of ways, including forgiveness of sins, wholeness, being reunited with God, being restored to the community and assurance of an eternal home with God – but the question remains: what does salvation mean to us on a daily basis? How have we taken these deep theological truths and claimed them for our lives? How can we communicate these meaningful spiritual insights to children in ways they can understand?

The critic might say, “That’s your job, pastor,” but I would argue that it is the job of the community to teach our children what we believe. This is why I’m inviting you to join me in a conversation on salvation during the Sunday School hour on May 4 and 25, led by Karen Okusu and me. The first conversation will focus on our multiple understandings of salvation – what does salvation mean to us? The second conversation will explore ways we can communicate the meanings of salvation to our children. I will do my job as pastor to bring Biblical and theological ideas to the conversation, but only as aids to help us make sense of our faith – that we might be better able to articulate what we believe – to ourselves, our children and our community.

I hope you will join Karen and me in these conversations.