I’m just saying

I live in a small community hosting a multitude of Christian churches. They span the denominational and non-denominational gamut. Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Evangelical, Missionary, Pentecostal, Church of Christ, Church of God  – you name it, we got it.

I am not saying they are overflowing full-to-capacity every Wednesday evening, Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Or that people are flocking to them in record numbers.

Honestly, there seems to be ample, available parking.

I’m just telling you that they are there.

The large public elementary school where I presently teach by is predominantly staffed by Christian individuals. Every day our cafeteria workers, custodians, and certified staff members have an opportunity to bless the children in their sphere of influence.

I’m not saying that they all openly profess their faith.

That they push the boundary between church and state that the ACLU has established.

I’m just telling you that by their own admission, they are Christians.

For many years, our beginning-of-the-year corporation staff meeting began with a blessing by a local pastor. This year we began without that public prayer.

I know there were probably many churches and small groups praying for the teachers and students in other venues at other times. But this year, on our first day of school, there was no communal blessing.

I’m not saying everyone noticed.

There was no outrage in the teacher’s lounge.

In most conversations, it didn’t take precedence over the predicted changes in our salary schedule.

I’m just saying it wasn’t there.

That day, the open call to God to protect and provide for our community’s most vulnerable and valuable – our children – was marked absent.

For some, it is probably a big “so what.”

But for me, it sounds more like “now what?’

As is, now what is my response?

Just what is my response to empty church pews, silenced public prayers, and a choke hold on the open profession of faith in my classroom?

It can only be one thing.

I will continue to lift up Jesus.

Publicly when I’m called.

Silently when I’m not.

It may not be popular.

Or politically correct.

You don’t have to agree with me.

But I can’t be something I’m not.

It’s just who I am and “Whose” I am that matters most to me.

I’m just saying…

 

 

 

The Bothersome Blessings

I braved the snowy less-than-desirable driving conditions out to my rural school only to find out that classes had been cancelled for the day. At first I was annoyed that I had somehow been omitted from the staff list that receives automated school closing text alerts. However, after some consideration I realized that it was only a minor inconvenience and had I not spent the hour driving back and forth here are the things I would have missed:

1. Opportunity to help another. As I made my way home I spotted two fur-clad little girls on the corner waiting for the school bus. I rolled down my window to relay the news. “School’s cancelled for the day, girls, because of the snow!” They smiled and waved and called out a thank-you before turning to walk away. At least I’d saved them from a few more frozen moments on the curb.

2. Views of the extraordinary white-washed scenery in all of its snowy splendor. The brown earth and bare trees had become things of beauty when they were blanketed in snow. The images reminded me of how Jesus covers me with His love and grace. That even though I am stained and dead in my sin I become pure and white through the blood of the Lamb.

3. Time spent in prayer for the parent of one of my students. My drive time is always a great opportunity for conversation with the Father. This morning I had asked Him to give special attention to one of the moms in my room. Her child had recently come to church at my invitation. She wanted to know if she could send his sisters on the van that had come to pick him up on Sunday. I assured her they could and then went on to invite her to come, too. She had looked away quickly without an answer, but not before I had seen her expression. It was one that had said, “I’m not worthy. You don’t know what I have done.” My heart went out to her and I wanted to say, “He loves you anyway.” So this morning I lifted her up to the throne and asked God to whisper His gentle love to her heart.

Suddenly, the trip that had seemed to be a bother, had become a blessing. Simply by changing the lens in which I viewed the situation made all the difference. Thank-you, Lord, for loving me so much that You continue call to me in all the bothersome, blessed places of my life.