Leaves are falling here in the Brandywine Valley, carpeting everything in a lovely, multicolored chore.
This time of year always reminds me of one of my favorite church high school youth group activities from when I was growing up in a fundamentalist, nondenominational Baptist church in New Jersey. This one didn’t involve passing out gospel tracts. It was stealthier than that, which was why it was so much fun.
This was one of the things our church got right, and it’s something almost any church youth group could do as well. I recommend it because, again, it’s about as much fun as you can have on a Saturday in November. All you need is: a church van and a driver, a bunch of teenagers with rakes and tarps, and a list of addresses of older folks no longer able to rake their own leaves.
The idea was to get in and get out as quickly as possible — a blitz attack that was over before they even realized what was happening. The van pulled up and then Go, go, go. A flurry of raking until the lawn is pristine and then — quick! — everyone back in the van and get away before she catches us.
We’d drive away laughing and delighted, as though we’d just pulled off a terrific prank. In a way, I suppose, we had. Sometimes the kingdom of God is like unto a practical joke. And it’s a really good practical joke.