(Note from Matt: LIsa Williams is a FUMCMC church member, who is also the leader of The Homeschool Academy. I asked Lisa to guest on my blog, detailing her experience of working with her students as they create altars for our Open Skies worship service.)
One of my favorite things that I have the privilege to take part in, is decorating the altar for Open Skies. It fills me with great joy to find new and exciting ways to portray “God’s word” for my church family. I love walking into the “holy hardware” closet and seeing all of the fabrics, candles, crosses,etc., that I can use to “paint the canvas” to share His message.
One of the other hats I wear is principal and teacher at The Williams School dba Homeschool Academy. The Williams School reaches those kindergarten through twelfth grade kids that learn a little differently than the “normal” student. One of my goals from the onset of establishing this school, (this is our 9th year), is giving our students the same opportunities that their counterparts at other schools would be experiencing.
Community service hours are a requirement for graduation for our high school students. Open Skies has been an awesome service project for my kids to adopt. Our students happily jumped at the prospect of getting out of class early on several Fridays throughout the school year to set up chairs. But what “setting up the chairs” for Open Skies has led to, has been a definite God thing!
It was Maundy Thursday. The kids were thrilled that they had a three day weekend ahead of them (Good Friday), and just wanted to set up the chairs and get the heck out of Dodge. I was on tap to “do the altar.” My boys were busy setting up chairs and I asked my girls to join me in the holy hardware closet because I needed some help changing out the banners.
Before I knew it, all of my kids were standing in the closet “oohing and aahing” over all the many different crosses and all the brightly colored material. The began to pepper me with questions —
- what are these for?
- why are they different?
- How could you use this? And why?
- Doesn’t church have to be all white, especially at Easter?
So being the “good teacher”, I turned their questions around on them and wanted them to find their own answers. Before I knew it, fabric was flying and they were telling me what Easter meant to them.
My students decorated the altar that Easter and I must tell you that it has been my favorite so far! It was one of the brightest most beautiful I have seen. Since that altar, a week doesn’t go by during the school year, that at least one of my student’s asks, “Can I help you with God’s altar?” These kids have become a vital part of God’s worship in this church family. They have painted banners, helped me sign songs, made trees, help me with the altar and they continue to set up chairs. They bless me daily and I wanted to share their blessings with you.