Students entering our building on any given morning is a moment that I greatly enjoy. Their return back to school creates a pulse of energy and clarity of purpose that draws me in. Whether it is with smiles and laughter, tired faces, or even concerned looks, they leave their world at home and become part of a social situation of learning and growing for the next number of hours.
Last week I was greeting students in the hallway as they arrived and was drawn in to a classroom where students were sharing things they were busy creating. As the class settled toward their morning routine with their teacher, I was prepared to make my inconspicuous exit. Just before I did, a student approached me and asked “Mr. Janssen, will you stay and join us in our devotions?” There was only one right answer. I quickly took my place on a chair that was moved in place for me.
“What should we be busy doing until Christ returns?” was the main question the class centered on after reading the Matthew 24 text. I listened to their reflective answers about learning, serving, growing, and waiting. In a communal prayer, students offered prayers of thankfulness and requests for healing, wisdom, and anticipation of needs they saw as real and personal. There is something incredibly powerful about the prayers of children that admonishes adults to pray with greater openness and trust about anything and everything. I left to attend to the work waiting on my desk having been blessed and moved by the incredibly valuable habits of faith being developed in that classroom.
I’ve often been wondering out loud lately if the nature to Christian Education ought to be better described as being invitational more than it is confrontational. In the same way that Christ welcomed little children to come to him, God’s world and God’s community beckons our students to explore, create, celebrate, and share as they take on every day. Praise God that is what our students encounter everyday at LCES.
I’m glad that I stayed. SJ