On Thursday, I saw a great posting on Paola Estrada's Facebook wall. Paola, one of the ten best students I have ever taught, is now a US citizen! The following, from 1-25-07, is about another one of my students who followed the same path as the wonderful Paola.
This evening we hosted an open house for prospective students at Westbury Christian School. On a twice yearly basis, we invite the public to meet our students, faculty, and staff and encourage those with youngsters to consider us for the furthering of their children's education. We have a video presentation followed by a short program. Two students, Leah Holder and Russell Leonard, spoke of the impact WCS has had on their lives. Before Leah and Russell presented their thoughts, two other students helped kick off the festivities. Alan, who has been at WCS for twelve years, opened our meeting with prayer. And then, Rudy stood, walked to the the microphone, and led the audience in the recitation of The Pledge Of Allegiance. Usually, I am matter-of-fact about The Pledge. After all, most of us began elementary school days with hands over our hearts, repeating the vow we could say in our sleep. Tonight found new meaning for me as we, with one voice, promised to be faithful to our red, white, and blue banner and the values it represents. The flag was no different than the one we normally use. The difference was Rudy. One of our juniors, Rudy became a changed young man this week. Several days ago, Rudy became an American citizen. Born in El Salvador, he and his family have resided in Houston for several years. He plays on our varsity soccer team and last year was a student in my sophomore Bible class. He is a polite, talented teenager and now, like me, Rudy is a citizen of the United States of America. I stood up straighter as we followed Rudy's lead with The Pledge tonight. The thirty-one words did not mindlessly roll off my tongue as they normally do. The Pledge Of Allegiance was fresh to me for one reason: Rudy's example.
We take citizenship for granted. We take our relationship with Jesus for granted. Those of us who grew up in Christian homes may not remember a time when Jesus was not a focal point of our family life. New Christians don't take that relationship for granted. When the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized into Christ in Acts chapter eight, he went on his way rejoicing. Familiarity drains the rejoicing out of our joy. I wish I could say I go away rejoicing after each time of worship or study....but I want to be truthful. I accused one of my female students of glowing today. She denied it but the symptoms were undeniable. It leads me to the only rational conclusion; there is a new boy in her life! I see that glow in Rudy and I see that glow in the story of the eunuch. I just wish I would see it in me on a more consistent basis.
Applicable quote of the day:
"It is the flag just as much of the man who was naturalized yesterday as of the men whose people have been here many generations."
Henry Cabot Lodge
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org