Last week, I had the opportunity to spend five days with my daughter, Ashley. Ashley now lives in Atenas, Costa Rica and teaches English to 4th and 7th graders at a private school. It was a simple trip, no big plans. However I was able to take with me her two grandmas and two friends. They were very much interested in seeing the little town she lives in, visit her school, meet her boyfriend Jorge’s family, know where she hangs out and basically come to believe that she was safe and okay in such a far away land!
We let the youngest in our group, 7 year old Avery, choose something she would like to do. She really wanted to see a volcano. And fortunately, there’s one not far from where we were staying. We all piled into the car one morning and were there in no time, then had a short hike to where we could see into it! What we saw was an amazing sight.
And this amazing sight helped me understand something about the Bible. Go figure.
The FaithWorks! elementary kids are exploring the first books of the New Testament. Each grade is looking at one of the Gospels or the Book of Acts. They are learning who wrote the book they are studying, exploring the stories in it, and reading stories that either are about Jesus or ones that He told. They are also discovering that some stories are in more than on book of the Bible! And further, that sometimes these stories have different details!
Last Sunday, in FaithWorks!, I shared some pictures of all of us at Poas Volcano. Ashley and Grandma. Ashley, me and Grammy. Summer and Avery. Ashley, Avery and Jorge. Each one of us experienced that volcano with Ashley. Each one of us had a different experience with Ashley that day.
I was just happy to be with Ashley and wanted to just hug her, since we have been to this volcano together before and we hadn’t seen each other since May. Ashley’s grandmas were glad to experience Costa Rica with their granddaughter, who they’ve watch grow up into a young woman who loves a different language, culture and land. And one of her grandma’s had never been to a volcano, so that was an added perk. Avery was very excited to see the volcano with her babysitting-friend, Ashley who still dances and plays with her. Summer, who’s been to Costa Rica to visit Ashley twice now, was wanting to experience a Spanish-speaking country with her daughter and friends. Jorge was our fabulous tour guide and driver for the week!
We each walked the path up to that volcano, peered over the railing at the amazing sight, watched the wind carry the steam in different directions, had our pictures taken with Ashley, and spent the morning laughing, talking, throwing question after question at her.
But if we were to write down our words and experiences and memories from that morning, I’d bet a lot of money that we’d each write something different. No two stories would be identical. We come from different backgrounds and generations and relationships with Ashley.
That’s how it is in the Bible too. We hear from Matthew who knew Jesus as the one who helped turn his life around from tax collecting to discipling. We think Mark to be the young man watching what was going on in the Garden the night Jesus was arrested. Luke was a physician and interviewed others to learn Jesus’ story. John would be what I call Jesus’ very best friend. Each of these men experienced Jesus in different ways. So naturally, those stories of long ago may have been expressed differently. But they all lead us to one story: a common understanding of who Jesus was then and who He is to each of us today. One story: expressed differently in all of us!
I want to encourage you to sit down with your child and explore the Gospels and Acts with him or her. Because if you and your child experience Jesus together, the story of Him in your lives will be similar. They’ll look somewhat different, but yet be the same story. You will both know of His love, grace, and mercy. And with Him in the mix, regardless of how it’s told, your stories will have the same ending 🙂