Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Out Of Step

I love memory verses and I love having a colorful classroom. Sometimes, things don't according to plan, even in Bible class. This example is from February 21, 2007.

It started out fine. Yesterday in class, in conjunction with Febreze Day, we did a little art work. As we do several times per year, my students wrote out a memory verse in CRAYOLA MARKERS on an 8 1/2" by 11" sheet of copy paper. The selected scripture was from 1 Peter 2:21 . I reduced it a little, dropping the first six words so it would fit on the sheet comfortably. The kids transcribed:
"Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps."

I explain this verse was the basis for Charles Sheldon's 1896 novel, In His Steps, from which the phrase What Would Jesus Do? was popularized. As the eighth graders and sophomores personalized their masterpieces, I encouraged them to add artwork to illustrate the thought. Many added footprints or shoes while some incorporated a road or pathway. Their imaginations are superior to mine as are their drawing skills. As is our custom, we cover one of the classroom walls with the verses. My student aide, Devin, would normally affix these Picassos in an orderly manner but she was preparing for a band performance. Not wanting to fall behind, I tore Scotch tape, six pieces per picture, and let the kids hang their work themselves. There is a board that runs along the wall, waist-high. I told the kids to tape the drawings, side by side, with the board as the bottom edge. The pictures had to touch each other. At the end of the board, which is roughly twenty feet long, we would begin a new level. My sophomores dutifully went to work and then my first class of eighth graders built on their foundation. Three more classes followed until one hundred sheets came to reside on one side of Room 258. It happened gradually and I can't say exactly where but one sheet got out of line. Since the papers had to adjoin, the next one was out of alignment and then the following one, etc., etc., etc. By the time we got done, it did not look like the quilt-work I had envisioned. In fact, it is a semi-mess. The rows are uneven and there are half inch gaps between some of the verses, some of which are slanted, even to an untrained eye. I could pull them down and let Devin tape them more precisely- let me tell you she would be thrilled with that prospect- but that would ruin the point. It is very easy to get off track in almost anything we do.

In one of Peter's more famous verses, he speaks of the necessity to follow the example of the Savior, down to stepping where he stepped. One person leaves a narrow trail. He didn't say we should follow in the apostles' steps or the prophets' steps which would have cut a much wider swath. What did Jesus, Peter's mentor, say about the street of salvation?
"But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:14)
When we wander away from his lead, we veer off course. It would seem easier to only follow one set of prints but nothing is easy for us. It might take some distance before the error is evident. Baseball fields are marked from the back corner of home plate. An incorrect angle in the line won't show up at once but as you near first base, it can't be ignored. If no correction is made, the foul line is feet out of whack by the time you reach the right field fence. We need to get in line and stay in line. When we stray, and we will, it is much easier to make the course adjustment quickly, before we completely lose our way. The kids did a good job with the artistic part of the project but I they made a glaring oversight. None of the drawings of the feet in the pictures portray nail holes. Maybe it is easy to overlook the first part of that verse; we follow in the steps of Jesus because he suffered. We'll cover that tomorrow; one step at a time.

Applicable quote of the day:
"In a career, you can be off two or three degrees off course and walk into a wall, instead of through a doorway."
William S. Frank

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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