In journalism, this would be considered old news, something that I should let go since I haven’t commented on it before now. But I had already written last weekend’s column and didn’t want to change it. Besides, I think we will all still enjoy talking about it. So here goes: The Pittsburgh Penguins are Stanley Cup champions. I’ve been a fan long enough to remember when we wondered if the team would ever win the Cup, or even if they would survive from one year to the next. But now our Pens have won hockey’s ultimate prize five different times.
There are so many great stories with the Penguins, but I would like to focus on one part of the team. My favorite position in hockey has always been the goaltender, and the Penguins have had a very good one for some time in Marc-Andre Fleury (even though the commercials tell us that he’s not much of an expert on babies). But now he’s yielding the number one job to Matt Murray, who has won the Cup twice and is officially just a rookie this year. After the last game, it was great seeing Fleury celebrating with the Stanley Cup and then passing it off to Murray. Both goalies played extremely well in the playoffs, to the point where people were posting pictures on the Internet showing brick walls with either Fleury or Murray’s pictures painted on them. Each goalie was a veritable fortress in the nets for the Penguins. (And that, if you haven’t guessed, is my lead-in to my serious topic.)
This week we hold our annual Vacation Bible School, and the theme this year is “A Mighty Fortress.” That title reminds me of my mother, whose favorite hymn was “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” I am guessing, though, that this particular song won’t be part of this week’s festivities for our young children. In any event, the children will have plenty of fun and games, as well as snacks and entertainment and other good things. In the midst of all the fun, they will be learning a lesson about the goodness and love of our God.
I hope we can take a hint from the Vacation Bible School and see God in the more relaxing days of summer. I pray that we always rely upon God as a solid fortress for us in the face of the world’s troubles. The children coming to Bible School this week have their lives in front of them, and they do not yet realize what struggles they will face. We hope to help them build the fortress of faith, relying upon God, so that their faith will be strong enough when they need it.
The other part of Vacation Bible School is for the children to have fun. It is all too easy to make the faith seem serious and dour. As St. Teresa of Avila said, “God, deliver me from sullen saints.” And I hope that as we try to make our faith fun for the children, so we can also make it exciting and enjoyable for all of us.