Tag Archives: blessing

BREADCRUMBS: Thoughts and Prayers.

As a student, educator, mom, grandmother, and citizen – the past few days brings the violence a little closer to my heart. The world of education has been my world for most of my 67 years of life. It is the world I know. It is the world I love.

Those are my thoughts. I have many thoughts.

I was the 7th grader sitting in a classroom where a classmate stored their hunting rifle in the teacher’s closet. Later, I went on dates with a rifle in a gun rack right behind me. 
I was the young educator threatened with a knife and later a gun during my early years of teaching. 
I am mom who sent her children to schools where I taught and sent them off to colleges and work places in big cities – far, far away. 
I am a Grandmother who weekly picks up her Grands from their school.
I am a senior citizen who cries for her country.

Actually, I cried for my country many years ago while I was still in college. I watched my university close down for a period of time due to violence. As one of two white faces, I sat in a one of the first Black Studies courses taught on campus. I was ridiculed, in-your-face harassed several times by other students in that class, as well as threatened bodily harm in very descriptive terms.
I cried for an ugly war. I cried for people I knew who were fighting there. I cried for the soldiers were spit upon and heckled as they wore their uniforms. I cried over choosing abortion over life because I was a fool.

I have thought about these things over the past few days. I have thought about the posts on both sides that seems to further the division between all sides of the issue. The palpable anger that seems to resonate between the lines on a screen or the voices on TV/radio. I thought about FL.

I have thoughts…….and……I have prayers.

Sometime in my late 20’s I figured out that thoughts are not enough. Life is complicated and way beyond my meager understanding. Humbled prodigals can find their way home. However, there was something that was much wiser than my own thoughts. Something that had guided my path until I got lost. 
An action. 
A choice. 
Prayer.

“This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.) Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet. The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid.”~Mk 15:42-47

As I read this passage today, I thought about the young ladies being buried in FL. I thought about a Father who also watched His Son being buried. I thought about the night before when Rabbi Yeshua prayed. That mysterious connection that opened between Heaven and Terra – between Father and Son. 
That choice. That action. 
That prayer. That blessing.

When people say, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” I wonder if those are the words the Father replied to his Son? And if they were, I wonder how closely the Son held them in his heart when he heard the temple guards approach? What I do know – there was no anger in his actions. There was peace and healing.
So I pray and think some more.

Whether a person means those words is not for me to judge – only Our Father can determine that. But if those were the words – or something similar – that Christ held in his heart throughout everything he endured on that last day, that phrase is not a throw-away to be denigrated. 
It is a choice.
It is an action.
It is a blessing.

Thoughts and prayers.

A blessing to those who are suffering – to those in pain – to those who are sorrowful – to those who are needy.

A blessing.             

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Commandment Series – Prohibition of Oaths

10-commandmentsThis has been one of those weeks where I’ve had to deal with some of the aspects of teaching that I don’t like very well.  Our supervisor is out for the next 12 weeks enjoying a new blessing to her family which leaves us, not only short a person on supervisory portion of the job, but also puts me in charge of many more of the challenges that face teachers.  I thought when I retired, I wouldn’t have to do much of this anymore, but apparently – once again – I was wrong.  So here I am reminding myself – AGAIN – this is a blessing, this is a blessings, this…is…a…BLESSING.

I’m smiling right now, because yesterday I helped several second graders with a Common Core informational text that talked about the scientific concept of force.  Besides not knowing a lot of the words in the text, the conceptional ideas were a little abstract.  So we pushed and pulled some little things and then some big things, and the light bulb grew a little brighter. That is what I love about teaching.

“To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” – James 4:17 NASB 

It was the rest of the day that was a challenge for me.  Most of you who have ever dealt with children know that “when the dogs are away, the cats like to play”.  Needless to say, the students are pushing against any boundary just to see if they are still there.  Small children have small pushes.  Larger children push backs are with a little more force.  So far this week I have dealt with nuisances of talking too loud, constant roaming and ignoring simple rules that have been in place for the year.  Thus, instead of teaching, I talk to the kids, remind them of rules, line up the consequences and bring it to the attention of parents at end of day.  There has also been two small skirmishes.  Repetition occurs with a stronger talk to kids – line up consequences – implementation of course of action – apprise the rest of the staff – talk to parents about said skirmish and concerns – fill out paper work. Needless to say, amid all of this has been appearance of inappropriate language.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Ex 20:7 

This is a hard one these days.  Kids hear cuss words everywhere…parents, society, books, movies, even video games.   OMG (O My God)…or for that matter – any of the curses that employ Our Father or Jesus’s name…is so popular that it even comes out of my Grands’ mouths when I’m babysitting. (Needless to say, they do get corrected when I’m there.)  In Jewish tradition, God is often written G-d because the word is held with such sacredness.  In some sects, they will not even speak it.  God’s holiness is that special.  When we use anyone’s name in anger or frustration – let alone – God’s name, aren’t we “cursing them”?  As I’m writing this, I am trying to imagine substituting a loved one’s name for God’s name in OMG.  I can’t imagine even wanting to do that.

I read a book in college about how language is just a mess words that we assign meaning to and that cussing only holds meaning if we allow it to do so.  It’s premise was that cussing is fine, and people should get over it.  I tried cussing for awhile. Let a few words flit into my conversations here and there.  But when I began teaching and  watching my students closely, I could see the pain of ugly words and decided to try to turn my words once again. Blessing or curse, it is just a mess of words, but the choice is our – blessings or curse.

According to Jewish wisdom this commandment covers more than “taking His name in vain” (which was the way I learned it long ago).  This commandment instructs them to keep ALL oaths as sacred.  God makes promises to us and He ALWAYS keeps them.  This commandment instructs us to hold our promises with the same devotion as God holds His promises.

Make a promise in court?                     Keep it!

Make a promise to your spouse?         Keep it!

Make a promise to your children?      Keep it!

Make a promise to your boss?  Friend?  Pet?  Society?  Yourself?    KEEP IT!

When we keep our promises as Jehovah-Tsid Kenu keeps His promises, we are bringing His strong kingdom a little closer into existence within our rickety kingdom. Remember the old, old story of dropping a pebble into the water and watching the ripples radiate further and further out?  It is the same when we follow this commandment and keep our promise.  The consequences continue to ripple out from ourselves – to our families – to our community – to our society.  It is exactly what Christ asked us to do when He told us to pray:  “…thy kingdom come – thy will be done…”  LK 11:2    So…once again….is it really so hard to follow His third commandment?