My husband and I just got back from Orlando where I accompanied him to a conference. During our five-day stay, we spent one day visiting Epcot® at Walt Disney World®. We experienced the beauty of community as we walked through the history, culture, and architecture of eleven different countries. We spoke with people from the country in which we were symbolically standing and enjoyed their authentic food. These countries, set on a global arch around a large body of water, allow visitors to see our world as a whole, to value uniqueness and be awed by similarity, and to be encouraged to love instead of judge. It truly is "magical." In order to better understand the magic, I dug into the Disney Corporation's ethical standards when I got home. Out of the five sections, I found what I was looking for in the first two: "Our guests and customers expect and deserve the best" and "Our Cast Members and employees are the cornerstone of our magic" (Read conduct standards here). It is obvious that Disney's magic mirrors that in MT 22:39 where Jesus says to, "Love your neighbor as yourself," the second greatest commandment next to MT 22:37, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Therefore, "The Happiest Celebration on Earth" does not have to be exclusive to Orlando or Anaheim. On the contrary, the "happiest celebration on earth" is possible on every square inch of the globe when we choose to love unconditionally.
This month, consider having your small group plan and operate a fun-day in a local park for children and families in your community. Plan several weeks in advance by: obtaining a shelter permit in a local park and by advertising in the newspaper, on the radio, and with flyers in grocery stores, libraries, and daycares. Decide on a theme for the day, such as a celebration, an adventure, or a carnival. As a group, plan games, activities, and food that match your theme. Remember to keep all ages in mind. Most importantly, commit yourself to Jesus' words to "Love your neighbor as yourself" and celebrate each and every man, woman, and child that attends your event. Games, activities, and food could include:
- Races - three-legged, potato sack, egg on a spoon, wheelbarrow, etc.
- An obstacle course
- Water balloon volleyball - two teams of four, one on each side of a net, use a bed sheet to launch and receive water balloon
- Apple bobbing in a plastic swimming pool
- Free pop, lemonade, Popsicles®, hot dogs, etc.
This day of fun, food, and friendship can help everyone involved begin to value each other's uniqueness, discover their similarities, and dare to love instead of judge. Be mindful of opportunities to invite people to your small group. Taking the steps to plan and operate a day of fun can bring your local world closer than you ever thought possible.