Tag Archives: Ed

Condolences

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CLS Student cards outside of 97.5FM Studio

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:1-4 English Standard Version).

As an adult, I often struggle with the right words to say, especially in situations of grieving. I don’t know how many funerals I have attended where the only words that seem to come out of my mouth are jumbled, awkward, and wrong. Knowing this about myself, I observed something interesting about how kids deal with such situations.

A few weeks ago, in an attempt to promote a fundraiser and Christ Lutheran, our PTL set up radio interviews with some of our local radio stations. Over the course of three days, some students, a teacher, and I were to meet with different radio personnel at the radio station. As the dates for the interviews drew closer, a local tragedy occurred. If you follow the news in the St. Joseph/Benton Harbor area, you may know that one of our local radio station personalities was killed last week. Understandably, the radio station was shaken and working to retain some kind of normalcy in the middle of their grieving. Through some changes in scheduling, the interviews were still able to take place, but with the tragedy at the forefront of everyone’s mind, things were different. Adding to the sorrow and confusion, many television news cameras were on site at the radio station on the morning of our first interview.

In an attempt to express our condolences, some students at Christ created sympathy cards for the workers at the radio station. I am often surprised by the things that kids share at times of suffering. Sometimes I worry about whether they will say something that may be considered unsympathetic. In this case, as in most like it that I have experienced, kids surprise me with the heartfelt sympathy that they give. In this case, the students created cards that expressed sympathy far better than I ever could have. One radio personality, Brenda Layne at WSJM 94.9FM said, “I read every card, and there was such wonderful wisdom in some of them, some cards even had full bible verses, others just had maybe a comment or two here or there, but all such wonderful words from such little children.”

This all brings me back to the common theme I have written about, that our Lutheran schools do more than just academics. Our schools, led by well trained and faithful teachers, instruct students to be good stewards of their time, talents, and treasures in honor to God. They are instructed to love the Lord and their neighbor as themselves. With this as a foundation our students make a difference in the community and world sharing the love of Christ, even in something as simple as condolence cards for grieving people.

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A hope that does not disappoint

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“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:1-5 New International Version).

For the Christian, one of the challenges in life is that he doesn’t always see the fruits of his labor on earth. In many facets of life, one can somewhat expect hard work to be rewarded, but when it comes to the work of God our rewards are not achieved on earth. In fact, they are not even earned by us. They are earned by Jesus. Following Jesus can be difficult in a world where a person’s worth is often associated with his or her wealth.

In education, we often say things like, “if at first you do not succeed, try, try again” and “you have to get back on that horse!” In Lutheran education we strive to show our students the value of hard work and dedication. These characteristics are important in building children up to become productive participants in a world that so desperately needs citizens and leaders that reflect our creator’s will.

The ongoing theme in those sayings and others like it is that eventually, if one is diligent they will win the prize. That said prize is often something of earthly value and received with much fanfare. And yet there are things that we are called by God to fulfill where our rewards are not received with earthly things. Caring for others or those in need does not earn one a prize. Standing up for a person that is being bullied often results in gained hardship on the side of the one standing up to the bully. When it comes to things of heavenly importance, the prize is often not seen on this side of heaven. In fact sometimes following Jesus’ example results in hardship and inconvenience. Instead of a reward, the follower of Jesus will sometimes face hardship. If one is not careful, they can easily become discouraged.

In everything, we need to focus on Christ, the one who showed us how to live. Often times Jesus faced struggles while following his father’s will. Often times the disciples of Jesus struggled because their focus was too much invested in things of this world. Like the disciples, we too can become easily distracted by things that in the end are not really all that important.

In Lutheran education, teaching children to follow Jesus is what we are about. In addition to teaching math, science, technology, etc., students in Lutheran schools are instructed on things that benefit them today and tomorrow, an education rooted in the master teacher, Jesus. The benefits of tomorrow are not often understood today, but the benefits are there. And they mattered so much that our heavenly father gave up his Son on a cross to achieve them for us.