21 April 2006

Friday Night Scratchpad

It's that time again! Thanks for tuning in for the monthly-if-you're-lucky blog post.

Betimes, I've complained about my gaggle of sixth graders before, citing them anti-social or inconsiderate. I'm not planning on taking any of that back, as children of their age are, as an empirical fact, pains in the butt. In fact, their inelegance speaks the grace of God all the more emphatically.

All of last week's curriculum focused on the story of Easter. Each day our learning took up a different theme: triumphal entry, last supper, and so on. By the time Thursday rolled around, I was convinced these kids had had it up to here with all this Bible learning. "Just what is this American teacher trying to shove down our throats, anyway?" In my mind, they may as well have been saying this.

Incidentally Thursday was also the day we took an intense look at the crucifixion, and the day I encountered five of my boys chucking chunks of asphalt across the school parking lot full of cars during our breaktime. Things were not going well. With a heavy heart I planned for Friday, (Good Friday in actuality, but the day we would celebrate and study Easter in my class).

The students' attitudes on Friday could not have been more joyful. They were more considerate and talkative than I've ever seen them, and many of their free-write responses about the Easter story were phenomenal:

My favorite part of the Easter story is that Jesus had nails in his hands when he died, after he alive again, holes from nails still in his hands. When he died he forgave our sins, when he alive he beat death, it's powerful!

I have more reasons to believe that the Holy Spirit has planted some seeds of faith. One student wrote me email, and in two simple sentences, triggered more moxie and joy from the Gospel than I can remember: "Teacher, I love to listen to the story about Jesus. Can you tell more Jesus story to me?"

"It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy." (Romans 9v16) Hasn't he told us? Reminded us again and again that we aren't capable of adding a drop to his ocean of grace? And he tells us, but we only seem to listen when we can see the fruits: God is faithful. He will grow faith.

Go therefore and be joyful.