One of my favorite things about pastoring a small church is how deeply I get to be involved with all parts of church life. Last Wednesday, February 3, I spent the morning studying Mark 1, the afternoon in Zoom calls, and the evening building snow sculptures with our children and youth.
Wednesday evening at 5:30, six Conference youth groups of all sizes gathered under the lights of the Souderton (PA) Mennonite Church parking lot for a Mosaic Conference Snow Sculpture Competition. Our mission was to reshape the mounds of plowed snow into works of creative genius. Each group labored for an hour and a half, figuring out what to make, finding ways to bind no-longer-sticky snow together, and heaving large amounts of snow onto (or off of) piles.
Some of us poured water onto snowballs to stick the snow-person’s head to its body. Others used a hatchet to carve a monster’s face from a snow mound. I’m still not sure how Blooming Glen (PA) folks made their snow-hot-dogs stick together, but it earned them second place! As 7pm drew near, we whipped out the food coloring to bring out creations to life with color.
When time was up, we plodded around the parking lot, admiring other groups’ work and trying to see who the builders were under snowsuits and masks. My group threw snowballs while we waited for the judges to announce the winners.
We also discussed how snow sculpting might be a good sermon illustration for all working together in the body of Christ
We also discussed how snow sculpting might be a good sermon illustration for all working together in the body of Christ, even while the person working on the dragon’s tail cannot see or talk to the person working on the face. (This conversation really happened. I did not start it, and it was not just staged for this article.)
Congratulations are in order to the Zion (Souderton, PA) Mennonite Church youth for their winning dragon, which earned them a pizza party.
Though we were a bit disappointed, Zion’s youth pastor, Jordan Luther, later said to me, “I hope our two reptilian creations can live together in harmony. If God made the Leviathan to sport in the waters, then may our creations live in peace in the great black sea that is the Souderton Mennonite Church parking lot.” I had to agree, that as Mennonite pastors, we probably have no choice but to hope for shalom among our snow creatures.
For pastors who have only ever pastored in the pandemic, the shared work of building snow creatures was probably the most fun I’ve ever had with our youth. And I hope that we will be talking about the rainbow beret our snow-person wore to battle the snow dragon for years to come.