Monday, May 16, 2011

Freshness

Sunday at church, Bro. Chip, our pastor, preached on what may be my most favorite theological ideal of Christianity… love. He has been focusing on John since October (I know, it seems impossible to spend the better part of a year on one book, but I love how our pastor preaches… he seriously breaks down verse after verse, showing how the semantics and linguistics of the Word shows us just how Divinely inspired the biblical writers were… it reveals so much about His intentions for us! I have learned so much because of Bro. Chip’s preaching. He truly is a teacher of the Word. Anyways, We were in John (13 or 14… I forget) at the part right before the betrayal…at the dinner before the crucifixion. Jesus is giving his “farewell” message in this part, and says He is going away to a place we cannot yet go, BUT before He leaves, He was going to give them a NEW commandment (it really wasn’t totally new… a similar commandment is written in Leviticus 19… Verse 18 says You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.  but He was going  to explain it in a WHOLE NEW way… HE made it different). This commandment was to love one another as HE loved us. It’s so interesting that Peter pipes up after this and is all worked up about exactly where Jesus was going and why he couldn’t come, too… he totally missed this whole commandment to love. LIGHTBULB moment! Doesn’t Peter represent so many of us Christians? We get so caught up in “following Jesus” we forget to follow Jesus in what is arguably the most important way! Showing HIS love for us, modeling, exemplifying, living in such a way that points DIRECTLY to the Lord by loving one another NO MATTER WHAT.
That’s right. Not just loving one another as ourselves… That whole mess about the golden rule is out now, but instead, we are to love one another as Christ loved us. It doesn’t matter how crazy-terrible you are. The blackest, ugliest, dirtiest spot is cleanses by His blood. He endured the pain on the cross, gave up and literally died to Himself so that we can be forgiven. Think about that for a second. He loved each of us, even the most despicable and undeserving, so much that He consciously chose to give Himself up.  That’s so far beyond the word love, there isn’t a word to describe that. THAT kind of love is our commandment. Feeling quite overwhelmed by this, which felt so good to hear articulated because it is an aspect of our faith that I feel is so overlooked by Christians, I listened closely during the invitational, and someone, I believe it was our Minister of Education, Shane, who, along with his wife, is becoming quite a friend and mentor, mentioned seeking a freshness in our walk with Him, a freshness in our ministry to others. Just on Saturday I blogged about being “checked out” of school. It dawned on me that I needed to check back in. Not just in the classroom either. I have a mission before me. God has called ME, Briana, to love like HE did. And how stale and dried out my love for others has been!  With this on my mind last night, I read through an essay a student (with a criminal record and reputation to match already) wrote for extra credit. I cried as she talked about how she believes others perceive her. I cried even more as she talked about her desire to stay away from the ‘gangbangers’ and drugs on the street, and how she hoped that some day she would be known as someone who worked hard and was loved. She talked about her dreams to be a singer, to be grow up and get married to a man who cared about her, and have kids that she would love and care for. Knowing this child’s background, my heart ached. I prayed for her right then and there, and I made it a point to love this girl. I pulled her aside today and told her bluntly today that I had been thinking of her and wanted to know how much I loved her. I told her I believe in her and her dreams. I hugged her and held her tight. She was a little taken a back at first, but the smile on her face, and the starry-eyed look told me that this was important to her.  I told her that the most important thing she could do in life to be happy was to love- love others strongly, especially when they don’t deserve it.
That one conversation was the best part of my day, the most important reason I got out of bed today. That girl knows that she is loved. It wasn’t my jigsaw lesson on fairy tales, my cutesy make-your-own fairy tale handout that the kids got a kick out of, or my mini-writing assignment from a highly engaging article on a student getting banned from prom… yes, I was an effective teacher today, but more importantly, I loved like Jesus, and told another to do the same.
My prayer today has been for freshness. Like I felt on that day I found out I had a job teaching, like morning of my wedding, like the feeling that reverberated through me when I was 15 and lifted out of the cool waters of the baptistery, I want to live and love with a freshness. Lord, keep me from being stale, and always remind me that let all things I do be done with love… and not just any love- YOUR kind of love! Amen! <3

1 comment:

Melissa said...

SUCH an awesome post & i LOVE what you did for that student. SO sweet & i know she will NEVER forget it. :)