“Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, ‘What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?’ He replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?
It is beyond understanding.'”
~Judges 13:17-18~

The kids had a scholastic bowl competition this afternoon. It was held at camp, and is apparently something the district has been doing for over 25 years. Kids from the district can send youth group teams to participate in the Bible bowl. Each year focuses on different books of the Bible. This year the two books were Judges and Ruth. For the past month or two our pastor has been quizzing the kids and adults in the first part of Bible class.

There were three teams. Two from a church about two hours away, and one from ours, consisting of two of the boys and our pastor’s daughter. I’d told the boys they probably should try to read through Judges at some point, but I can’t blame them for not having gotten that done. When I walked into the dining hall they were halfway through the first round, our team having yet to score any points. I pulled up a chair next to the other pastor’s wife and we sat in stoic silence as our kids endured the other team answering question after question.

I was starting to think how this was just another one of those things that was a complete and total waste, another one of those family sucking, Sabbath-day violating activities that we all just need to learn how to say no to. I just don’t buy it, that going to church is the way of keeping the Sabbath, that we don’t need to have a day of rest anymore because Jesus said we didn’t have to. None of the other commandments work that way.

But the kids on the other team looked to be having a good time. They were smiling at each other and high-fiving each other, concentrating on the questions and buzzing in when they could. Our team was eliminated which meant their two teams played each other. They won first and second and were taking pictures with their medals. The grandmother of three of the other team’s boys–pastors sons–was so happy and said it was so worth making the drive up to come watch. One of the wives from our former district was there.

She spoke too of a busy weekend and life season. “I love you”, I said, and gave her a hug. “Love you too”. She walked to the lookout tower back to her family. We’re family too, but in a different way. During the questions I’d turned to the pastor’s wife next to me saying you really can’t make this kind of stuff up, that Sunday afternoon we sat submissively, humiliated by the book of Judges. The kids and coach had done a wonderful job.

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