There are times when you just know you are standing on sacred ground. Today I experienced one of those times. Every Tuesday I take a year 5 and 6 Scripture class and in a few short minutes, which can range from 15 – 20 I have the opportunity to share Christ with the class. I have to say upfront that I have never considered myself to be a teacher – especially within a classroom environment. And yet, teaching is part of the pastoral gifting / calling of which I believe I am called.
I try and do something different with the kids in class to make a difference. I have observed that far to often it seems to me those in authority speak at the kids. The teachers speak at them. The principal speaks at them. But, under God, my own prayer is Lord, help me to engage with the kids in a way that you are truly shared. We live and minister in a broken area. There is a lot of violence. There is a lot of abuse. A lot of brokenness, crime and broken families. There is a lot of hurt and there is a lot of anger. And yet, within this, time to time we find faith. We find hope. And we find love.
Most of the kids I minister too have to grow up quick. Many of them loose the very innocence that they should not. The area I speak about is often derided in the media. It’s hard for people to find jobs when they tell their prospective employer where they are from. (I recently spoke to someone who was well qualified, and had applied for 60 odd jobs and each time was told no. They lied about where they lived, and put down a previous address which was in a more so called “acceptable’ suburb and they got that job)And so the theme of my message to them is a constant “God is for you and not against you!” Anyway I digress.
Today I felt inspired to talk about how God has given us the spirit of love, power and sound mind which is the opposite of fear. I opened up in talking about fear and we had a discussion about what fear does. Then I spoke about how God doesn’t want us to fear him as in being scared.. rather he wants to empower us, love us and wipe away all confusion from us. I shared how God isn’t out to get us and because of his love for us – he will empower us to walk through any circumstances of life which comes our way.
I only shared for about 9 minutes. But during this time, the kids just sat quietly, eyes wide open. I prayed for them and then the bell rang.
*Warning! Tear Jerking Story Following!*
As everyone else left the class under the teachers orders, a young boy came up and asked if he could talk to us and if we would pray for him and his family. He shared how his dad had walked out on them, saying he had fallen out of love with his mum. While he was saying that – this young boy stood tall and said, “That is bull, he has walked out on me and my brother also!” And we listened to this young boy (who is quickly growing up beyond his tender years) pour out his pain and heartache of loosing his dad. I asked him if I could place my hand on his shoulder, which he said yes.. and I prayed for him, asking the Lord to comfort him, bless him, bring reconciliation in his family and heal their hurts.
This young boy made a comment that made me truly aware of the fact that we were standing on sacred ground. For he said to me “Thank you for telling me that God will never leave me on my own – I so needed to hear that today!”
As that young man walked back to class, Jon Owen (other scripture teacher) and myself looked at each other, tears freely pouring down our cheeks, and gave each other a huge hug as we acknowledged that something mighty and powerful just took place.