Back to School
Category : Uncategorized
While it is still officially summertime, whenever I say the dreaded ‘S’ word, all the teachers in the congregation give me piercing glances that shed some insight into the dread that they’re experiencing. They face the overwhelming task of refocusing their lives towards the most needed yet least rewarded calling of teaching. So, from the very beginning of my message for this month, I apologize to our teachers, for talking about SCHOOL.
Kyla and I have taken Catherine through the halls of Bon Lin Elementary two different times now, looking at where her Kindergarten class might be, meeting the sweet and bubbly ladies who will be surrounding her to teach her the ways of our community and nation. But I don’t think she’s nearly as excited as Kyla and I are. I’ve looked through the different displays in several of her potential classrooms (we will know who her teacher is after school gets started) and walked through the cafeteria, the music room, the computer lab, the art area, and I’m so very excited about all that she will learn there.
I can still remember vividly my first teachers, my first best friends, my first test, and my first PE classes, as well as my first failed assignment, my first argument with a friend, and that fateful day when I received my one and only paddling at school. I very much wish I could explain to Catherine everything that is being laid out before her for the next 13 years, but those would be vain explanations for her young mind. Regardless, it is an exciting time in the Shelton household.
But as I think about education and all those many first days of school, I also think about our education that we receive through our faith. For many, studying and learning is an integral part of our spiritual lives. It is something done daily or at least regularly to better orient our lives and connect our souls. For others, study might be an occasional practice, done in times of turmoil or stress to maintain some sort of stability through the difficulty. And for still others, study of any kind is difficult because of both the time required and because of the intimidating nature of such ancient and difficult to understand writings.
The Bible truly is a difficult book to read. To put it into perspective, the Supreme Court of the United States has the task of making sure that the laws enacted around our nation are matching with the spirit of the Constitution. The oldest parts of the constitution are roughly 227 years old and in its entirety, it amounts to fewer than 8,000 words. The 9 members of the Supreme Court often have fiery debates about how the words of a law match or conflict with the words of the constitution. In comparison, the Bible is 7 to 15 times as old and contains more than 100 times as many words. So from one perspective, interpretation and application of our Bible is far more difficult a job than what our Supreme Court faces. Be filled with respect for the task before us!
But despite this challenge, we must also take a lesson from the wise members of our constitutional jury: don’t take the trip alone. The founders of our nation decided that 9 wise individuals should comprise this ‘highest court’ because when wisdom and study cooperate and combine, it becomes stronger and wiser. The Church is a community of believers, and study above all should be done with trusted friends and companions around us, and not just those who agree with us. As our children start back to school, let us adults also make a return to study with our church family, our companions on this journey. We have a variety of Sunday School classes and even a small group already helping us grow and connect. Maybe more are needed! Let us seek out a group to belong to and opportunities to be in the presence of God through the study of The Word all school year long. May the excitement of our children be infectious to us adults.
(The new Christian Education year begins at Faith CPC on Sunday August 21st and all are welcome.)