Dear Fellow Children of God,
In the last two weeks two of my grandchildren have started school for the first time in kindergarten. Josh’s daughter, Emma, began attending kindergarten at Sutton Elementary on August 14. Andy’s son, Jackson, started kindergarten this past Wednesday at Birchwood Elementary. We are all excited for this big step in life for Emma and Jackson. But school is more than just a new adventure. Starting school is an entry into much a bigger world around us.
Jackson and Emma know they will be studying about letters and numbers and colors. They don’t know they are also entering the world of discussions about student funding, and “No Child Left Behind,” anxious thoughts and feelings over “Common Core” curriculum, and much more. That is a big arena for a 5 year old!
So, I prayed for Jackson and Emma, AND I prayed for their teachers.
Do you remember when teachers were respected? When I got in trouble in school as a child, and it happened often, I would get more punishment at home than I did at school. My parents trusted and respected my teachers. From what I read today, when teachers discipline students, so that everyone can learn more about reading and writing and math, teachers are often challenged by parents.
And teachers are being asked to do more than to just teach academics. More and more teachers in schools are being asked to provide values and nurture that sometimes children are not receiving otherwise. Most teachers I know care about children and want to help children grow into maturity toward adulthood. But, while teachers are being asked to do more, there are things teachers now cannot do, and teachers often receive less respect for the job that they do. Maybe you understand why I prayed for Jackson and Emma’s teachers.
Yet, teachers are not the only ones whose jobs have become more difficult in our country. Law enforcement officers do not receive the same respect I remember from days past. Doctors and health care professionals are often questioned. And, imagine being a Christian and trying to serve as an elected official! I know some people who say it is impossible to live one’s Christian faith and to serve in office. But personally I am thankful for Christian people who struggle with the political system in order to bring honor and values to our society.
Jesus knew about the struggles of His disciples to live in this world. He talked to our Father in heaven about such struggles. On the night before He died Jesus prayed with his disciples and John recorded this prayer. In part of Jesus’ prayer He asks His Father, “15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:15-17)
Many have taken the words of Jesus’ prayer to describe the struggle Christians face. We are “in the world, but not of the world.” In other words, instead of serving just ourselves using the values of the world around us, Christians are called to serve God and others, following God’s guidance and trusting His help.
As Jackson and Emma enter this larger world they do have help. They have help from their Creator, and they have help from the one who loved them and died for them. As teachers and policeman and lawmakers and all who might be God’s children seek to serve the Lord in our sinful world they need help too. That is why I prayed for Emma, and I prayed for Jackson, and why I also prayed for their teachers. After all, that is what Jesus did for His disciples.
A Child of God, Praying for my grandchildren, and their Teachers,
P.S. Here are some more pictures
Summer Baptisms (3 sets of August baptisms) - https://plus.google.com/photos/114993745799525883148/albums/6053417072012804385?banner=pwa
· Silver salmon fishing this summer with 2 new pictures at the end. https://plus.google.com/photos/114993745799525883148/albums/6042629097376762289?banner=pwa
· First fish caught by Jackson and Kendall, and first fish caught fly fishing by William Nakajo (Noel Woods’ grandson), https://plus.google.com/photos/114993745799525883148/albums/6050530304028568641?banner=pwa
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am always adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you don’t want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message. . . Or, if you know someone who would like to receive one of these e-mails, please send me their e-mail address.