By definition I am an antique, though I am wrestling with that title. The young people who fill my classroom don't care much for antiques. They are, in many ways, as much a mystery to me as I to them. Therein lies my dilemma- relevance without compromise, i.e., meeting them where they are while maintaining righteous standards. It is difficult for this old dog to teach these young dogs old tricks in new ways. But, I am learning that attentiveness is a reciprocal arrangement. The level of a student's attention toward me is directly related to mine toward them. I watch them. I listen to them. Theirs is a world of witches and vampires, violence and drugs, sex and crude humour. I feel ill equipped. That is precisely where Christ fills the moment. He speaks to me in ways I can relate. Wednesday morning He yelled at me.
I was reading Mark, chapter eight- the account of Jesus feeding 4,000 people with 7 loaves of bread and 'a few fish'. After this miraculous banquet, Jesus and His motley crew climbed into a boat. The story unfolds in verse 14-
'And they (the disciples) had forgotten to take bread; and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. And He (Jesus) was giving orders to them, saying, "Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." (Religion and Government, but that's another lesson He is trying to teach me!) And they began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart?"'
(And then, Jesus spoke the next verse to me, loudly!)
"Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember...?
He is still trying to teach me the fact of His sufficiency; His ability to exceed the visible 'possibilities' I call facts. I had been fretting over the amount of gas in the car ( at the current price, we use $10.00 daily). I had been struggling with issues of relevance and generational discrepancies in my classroom- a separation of almost four decades.
Eyes. Ears. Memory.
I am concerned for my students. On an infinitely higher level, so is Jesus. So, tomorrow I will put my armour on, go back to the classroom and watch and listen and remember.