Friday, December 5, 2014

and they all got the email about the sabbatical last night and it was a pretty teary day

Come now and see the works of God, how wonderful He is in His doing toward all people. Psalm 66:4

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 

So in freshman English, we are winding up for the big hero finale. We have read The Odyssey and Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca who is my favorite example of an accidental hero, and a self-selected autobiography to read over Thanksgiving. And over and over my kiddos have looked for heroic character traits and how they were revealed in the words, actions, appearance, thoughts and feelings and the reaction of others. Over and over. But yesterday they collectively blanched.

I asked them to identify a heroic trait in their own personal character and to tell a story about how it is revealed in their words, actions, appearance, thoughts and feelings and the reactions of others.

“Nooooooooo,” they collectively wailed. We can’t do that. We can’t talk about ourselves. That would be bragging. That would be weird. That would be uncomfortable.

And then I challenged them with the idea that we are light-bearers, made in His image, and each one of us reflects God, sort of like one big disco ball of mirrors sending out flashes of glory into the world. And to recognize Him and His goodness in our lives is a form of worship.

And each of us is His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

And I tried to quote C. S. Lewis and The Weight of Glory, that we are in the presence of possible gods and goddesses and his idea that There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations–These are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit–immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.

And the kiddos dug in, with an awkward smile, but a smile nevertheless. And I circulated and made sure that each one wrote at least half a page, really pressing into the idea that He is indeed mindful of man, adorned by God with glory and honor; given mastery over the works of His hands.

And then I had them pass their journals to someone across the room. And then again and then again. And then I drew names out of the purple basket and had students stand and read the journal of someone else loud and clear. And it was beautiful.

And I think for a moment, they too could see the works of God that filled the room, in skinny jeans and U of A sweatshirts and the room was filled with His glory.