On occasion throughout the year, the school here has “theme weeks” where all of the children’s learning, to include their academic subjects as well as chapel and evening worship experiences, are geared toward a common theme. This is one of those weeks here, and the theme is “Being Good Stewards of the Environment.”
So our Mission Team here isn’t just helping the students in the classroom to learn more about the environment around them and how to better care for it, but they are working with the faculty and students beyond the classroom to put into practice these lessons in ways that will make a difference. For example, John, Brian, and Jerry are helping the Science teacher for the upper elementary classes to build a mobile compost bin that will actually be used on the campus. Other team members are helping the children in other grade levels with projects that will become a part of an ecology exhibition that will be shown and shared with the surrounding community. And all of us will be participating in a campus wide clean-up day here on Friday!
But as I shared with you yesterday, everything that happens here isn’t just a matter of the mind…it is rooted in the Word of God! So the children are not just learning about ways to better protect the world…their world… but that this is, and always has been, God’s world that has been entrusted to us. That caring for the environment is really a part of our purpose, and just one of the many ways that we thank and honor God!
So this theme…this truth…hasn’t just been a part of the classroom, but also our focus in worship today. Today, I had the privilege of partnering with some of the staff in leading campus-wide morning worship. The principal (Ms. Lydia) opened with prayer, and Ms. Naomi (a teacher and missionary from France) led the school in singing some familiar songs, like “This Little Light of Mine.” Then I teamed up with the 3rd grade Math teacher (Ms. Miray – also from France) to bring a message about…you guessed it…light! And how this worked was very unique. I laid the Biblical foundation about light. About how God is the giver of light, Jesus is the light of the world, God’s Word is meant to be “a light unto our feet and a light for our path” (Psalm 109). But then Ms. Miray presented an object lesson to reinforce, in a very practical way for the children, the importance of having light in our lives and being a light in the lives of others. And it left me thinking, “Wow! This tag-team thing worked pretty well.”
Then God turned on the light for me! You see, this is what it really means to be the church in the world. Not just educated theologians or trained pastors teaching and preaching to instruct others…but all of us using our gifts and our witness to encourage and inspire others into lives of love and compassion. It is not about being the “Institutional Church”…but becoming more genuinely and faithfully the “Body of Christ” that has many members and many expressions. In that eye-opening moment, it wasn’t that I was the pastor and she was a math teacher…we were one voice, one heart, one mission, one purpose, and one spirit.
My friends, that is the church I am convinced that Jesus intended and prayed that we might become. Not just sometimes (like when we are on mission trips like this) or in some places (like here…when we are on mission trips like this), but each day as we live and serve together right there in our own community.
I cannot wait to return to you and continue the work we have been committed to together for years. But I will be returning to you with a renewed spirit, an uplifted heart, and eyes newly opened…so that we can continue our work in new and more effective ways!
I will see you soon! Buckle up!!!