Going back to school was about the most exciting thing in the year for me. Right up there with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and summer holidays! September meant a few new clothes and definitely a new pencil case, lunch box, and scribblers. It signified sitting in my very own desk and organizing it the way I wanted, playing dodgeball with other children. running the long path through the evergreens that surrounded the school, and most of all, learning new things.
On the first school day, the curriculum was pretty much set for each grade, the teacher was prepared, the classroom was ready, and life was good! Not so today. Yes, the teachers have been preparing…a lot. New school supplies have been purchased. Classrooms have been made ready – physical-distancing and all. Many children are excited about being with friends and learning together. But in addition to the regular curriculum, there is an added one: the COVID Survival Curriculum.
Before schools opened, many parents and grandparents were torn between the risk of sending children to school and the risk of not sending them. Already in Calgary, there have been COVID cases found in schools…
The curriculum just got a whole lot more complex. How does one adjust to and navigate this new situation? I love that Jesus is so well known and respected, both in Christianity and beyond, as a Teacher. And what is so encouraging is that he was/is all about new curriculum for new circumstances…and it went beyond survival… New life. New creation. New agency. And Jesus promised to be with us through the Holy Spirit to continue to develop new curriculum for a new time.
World War II also was a time of forced shut down of ordinary life. People knew they could not go back to the way things were before, yet there were good things that came out of it. Parents and teachers had to come up with added curriculum for how to navigate the war and post-war days. Some things were re-built, others were let go. And in all the rebuilding, change, and added curriculum, it was God’s help and grace that inspired and moved it along in people, whether God got the credit or not.
We need a new curriculum for our context today that includes, but also goes beyond, survival. We will all need to go back to school for that. Good thing Jesus is still our Teacher!
May his Peace continue to guard our hearts and minds as we learn the way forward.
The scripture this week is Mark 4: 1-9, the parable of a farmer sowing seeds…and the seeds are the word of God. Jesus encourages everyone who has ears to listen. I encourage you to open yourself to the word of God within around you, by spending time with this scripture… reading it slowly 3 times through. After the first time reading answer question one. After the second time reading answer question two. After the third time reading respond to question three.
1. After the first reading, what stands out to you?
2. After the second reading, what words or phrase is speaking to you?
3. After the third reading, what is the scripture prompting you to do or be?
As I utter these prayers from my mouth O God In my soul may I feel your presence.
The knee that is stiff O healer make pliant The heart that is hard make warm beneath your wing
the wound that is giving me pain, O best of healers, make whole
And may my hopes and my fears Find a listening place with you. Amen