Tag Archives: students

BREADCRUMBS I

“Jesus wept.”~Jn 10:35

It is the shortest verse in the Bible and yet…it catches my breath every time I read it.

God wept.

I’ve been thinking of the story of Lazarus all week. It seems Our Father does this to me often. He plops breadcrumbs down in front of my feet – like I’m supposed to know what to do with them.

Eat them? Follow them?

Obviously, I don’t handle His hints very well. Sometimes, I crush them – mostly by accident…..I think – with the heel of my boots. Sometimes, I stoop down to study them where they are lying, wondering if I really want to deal with the mess of breadcrumbs in my pocket – you know – they crumble, right? Sometimes, I pick them up – popping them in my mouth – – duh, I’m hungry and the five second rule works for me. And sometimes – I pick them up and turn them carefully in my hands and wonder why they sparkle in the sun? Then I wonder just what in the world am I supposed to do with a sparkly breadcrumb?

It has been one of those weeks. The breadcrumbs have been plentiful – way more than I can handle – and I’ve been befuddled on what to do with all of them. My path littered with crumbs I’ve inadvertently crushed. My belly full of broken challa that feeds my soul. My pockets, a crumbly mess of wisdom that I wish I understood just a little more. My hands full of somewhat intact crumbs that sparkle and then I look up. The darkness thins, and He shows me why they sparkle. They are covered with tears.

As I’ve been reading Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg which led me at some point to the story of Lazarus. As if to drive the point home, I stumbled over to a podcast by a Messianic Rabbi on John Chapter 11. Till finally last night, there was a transforming catalyst of the breadcrumbs and that sent me to the back door slider in our home. A sunset. A ray of light reflecting off my tears. He always prepares me, I just am not so smart at realizing it until I look closely at those breadcrumbs that I hold tenderly in my hand.

Rabbi Yeshua was close to His followers and even closer to His disciples. He was their teacher for as long as He was given. His Father gave him a list, and He gathered them by calling their name or telling a story or by just a look over a crowd. He broke bread with them. He taught them with love. He patiently explained this new knowledge in different ways, over and over and over. He struggled when they struggled with their faith. He wept when they wept for great was His compassion – – – great was His love.

In our society, students don’t stay as long with their teachers as they did in Jesus’ time. However, like the rabbis of old, teachers today still share tiny bits of their lives, knowledge – and hopefully – wisdom with those given to their charge by the Father through a list typed out by the school secretary in some office. Before they know it though, the students are walking out the door and onto their own paths; their teachers sniffle a little as they wave good-bye.

As teachers, we don’t talk about it much. We act like it is just a job. Actually, I don’t think we understand the process as much as we think we do. We just know – that somehow – we grew attached. We gathered them at the beginning of the year. We broke bread with them. We laughed with them. Struggled with them in their struggles. We sweated in the heat of the summer that didn’t know when to quit. We froze in the depth of winters when old boilers couldn’t keep up with the below-freezing cold. We wept when the ugliness of life jumped out of the bushes and unto the path that we are walking together.

Overdoses.

Vehicle crashes.

Storms that break tree limbs.

Illnesses.

A national tragedy – a local tragedy – a familial tragedy.

The connection between teachers and students has been there since the beginning of time and will continue in the everlasting gospel (Rev 14:6). It has been modeled for us throughout the entire WORD. When Our Father gathered His people to Him. When He sat on Mount Sinai with Moses and the Elders to break bread (Ex 24:9-10). When He carved His law upon the tablets and told Moses what to write in the Torah (Ex 19-24). He struggles with His people when they struggle. He weeps with holy tears as His people weep (Jer 14:7).

Teachers – Students – breadcrumbs that sparkle with tears in every season of life. God is good and greatly to be praised. Amen and amen.

 

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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?