Monday, March 28, 2016

Just Like John

One of the best days of this school year for me actually came before it began. Forty-eight hours before launch of 2015-2016, WCS hosted a grade 5-12 Student Orientation where the kids new and returning show up for several hours after supper to pick up their schedules, find their lockers, meet their teachers, and mingle with old friends. I was standing in my doorway when a young man and his mother approached. It was Jose although it took several seconds for me to recognize him. Jose and his sister, Isabel, had been students of mine several years ago when he was in eighth grade. He had spent the intervening years in public school but now had returned for his junior year, a kid replaced by a young man. He's done well in my class and school in general. I find his honesty refreshing and he is not afraid to state his beliefs, something many teens shrink from. Several weeks ago, Jose was picked as one of our Student Ambassadors, young men and women who represent Westbury Christian School in a number of arenas. The selection was well deserved.

Today, my three Gospels classes tested over the three parables in Luke 15, an exam which required each student to write a ten-year later sequel to The Prodigal Son. Jose is in my third period section and he was the last to leave when the bell rang. Tonight was to be induction into our school chapter of the National Honor Society and Jose, along with ten of his peers, was to be inducted. Casey Burton, our terrific NHS sponsor, had tabbed Jose to give the benediction. Jose told me he had never prayed publicly and asked if I might be willing to help him since he thought I was pretty good at it. I shared some ideas- praise for the Lord, thanks for parents/classmates/teachers, guidance for our nation. I suggested he make a list to be ready and that was it. Tonight, after a wonderful ceremony, Jose prayed beautifully, starting off with gratitude for salvation through Jesus Christ. I was sitting with Mike White, our Head Of School, and we were both touched by his words. His obviously proud mom was as well. She wanted to permanently catch the moment with a picture of her son and his Bible teacher but her phone glitched. It doesn't matter. A mother's memory is always clearer and more focused than any digitized image could frame it. She will never forget.

I have always found the encounter of Jesus and one of His disciples found in Luke 11 fascinating.
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
The Savior had undoubtedly prayed many times in front of this believer and yet he wanted additional instruction, just as The Baptist had imparted to his followers. Jesus taught what is commonly called The Lord's Prayer, also recorded in Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount. Why would someone who probably was raised in the Jewish faith and living in Israel need a primer on prayer? My belief is the man recognized the importance of communicating with the Father properly and reverently. Communication is such a big deal now in a culture which values it, or at least its semblance, above almost anything else. You have to be connected. But there remains the interpersonal interaction which can't be conducted by text or e-mail or Facebook updates. How do I talk to my children? How do I talk to prospective employers? How do I talk to my students? How do I talk to girls? (Or boys, as the case may be.) But those all pale compared to the question Jesus answered to that anonymous Israelite. And Jose asked me that same vital question today; How do I talk to God? And tonight, Jose showed us.

Applicable quote of the day:
Prayer is not eloquence, but earnestness; not the definition of helplessness, but the feeling of it; not figures of speech, but earnestness of soul. 
Hannah More

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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