Last week the SJCS staff gathered for two days. We considered the Bible in light of N.T. Wright's belief that the most central truth to the Bible is God's faithfulness. We examined SJCS' most important characteristics. And we renewed our commitment to intentional Christian teaching.
In the midst of the many people, the many words, the myriad of emotions over those two days, God penetrated my heart with a truth I had been teaching in 8 Bible the past two weeks: I am God's Beloved. Henri Nouwen gives a compelling sermon (which can be found on my YouTube Channel) entitled Being the Beloved. In the sermon Nouwen dissects Matthew 4 where the Spirit leads Jesus into the desert to be tempted by Satan. Nouwen breaks down Jesus' three temptations into areas we can identify today. We can wrongly live with any (or all) of these three truths: I am what I do; I am what others think of me; I am what I have. In contrast to these false "scripts," Nouwen expands the Last Supper experience. He proposes that as God's Beloved, we are like the bread: Jesus takes the bread; Jesus blesses the bread; Jesus breaks the bread; Jesus gives the bread. This powerful analogy calls us to courageously own our brokenness, place it under the cross, and live under the blessing of being used by God despite our brokenness. In this way, our lives will bear much fruit.
As the teachers wrestled with the SJCS Throughlines, God's Spirit revealed a false script that I carry. That script says, "You are different and that is bad. When your gifts threaten others, hide them. You are not enjoyable." As the Spirit uncovered this script, waves of emotion swept through me. I felt shame, sadness, confession, connection, peace, and even delight in a matter of minutes.
Many of us have a similar "script" that Satan adeptly uses to keep us from God's good work. My middle school students are keenly aware of the scripts that shape them every minute of every day as they work hard to discover who they are, and who they want to be.
Indeed, in this small slice of my one story, God's faithfulness reigns. God's faithfulness whispers through the Holy Spirit. God's faithfulness shines in Jesus Christ. As we press forward in this journey of faith, let us take up our cross and respond in faithful service to our faithful God. Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. John 8:32