Writing this in the midst of Holy Week for the Christian Church, and after talking with students, especially younger ones still on a candy high I wondered: how has the Church allowed society to turn this Godly time of year into another Halloween, one in which the chocolate bunny receives more interest than the Cross of Christ? I’m not suggesting we take the joy from children, but I am concerned that commercializing it to the extent we have blurs the truth – no Easter Bunny can replace the Easter Resurrection with regards to eternal joy!
That said, I really wanted to reflect on the recent Parent Update we have each month from ACSI. Dr. Charles Walker near the end of his message says, “Remember how exciting it was to have your child attend a school where the Bible was taught and where Jesus Christ was exalted as the Son of God?” This is a reminder for parents and alumni alike. What a difference a “Christian” teacher makes in the life of a child, whether in public or Christian schools. A teacher with God’s heart approaches each day and each child with a unique heart of character, compassion and listening for the guidance of the Spirit.
Dr Walker continues, “Time often erases the freshness and vitality of yesterday’s choices (and I might add of our first experience of hearing Christ’s call on our lives). A conviction can soon become a preference, and a preference can gradually fade into a convenience. Eventually, if allowed, a convenience can lead to indifference, and indifference leads to wrong choices.”
These are insightful words about the human tendency to forget the one who called us into being. John observed the state of God’s people in John 1:1-14. Over time we too easily forget things most important to us. Israel forgot God’s protection from Egypt, then his provision of manna in the desert. We forget the experiences of life in which God has provided through people and events who have miraculously appeared when we were in need. Memory fades concerning the people, family members, teachers, and friends, who have made a significant impact on our lives. We take for granted the economic blessings God has bestowed, thinking too often we are not given enough.
Dr. Walker’s progression from conviction to wrong choices reminds me of Paul’s link between suffering and hope. “We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” This sounds like the Holy Week experience of our Lord: betrayal by disciples who forgot, suffering on a cross, focus on God’s purpose even to the end, and ultimate hope through the resurrection.
God understands our tendency to forget the blessings, provision, and protection He bestows. Read Deuteronomy 6 and see if the words don’t apply to all of us: “take care that you do not forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” The Lord provides, and all we have is His; even our lives as we were made for a purpose by the Creator.
This all comes back to why UCA exists: to teach and remind students and parents alike that we are the Lord’s, created for His purpose, and called to live as witnesses in a world bent on commercialism and lifestyles that in the end are not as healthy and upbuilding as we are led to believe. This is the message underling our days in the classroom, and part of the fabric of this dedicated team of teachers. Let us not forget the blessing it is to be part of UCA. Above all, let us not forget the real reason for Easter – the Cross, the Empty Tomb, the promise of Christ to go before us and with us each day.
Rev. J. Loring Carpenter, Interim Head of School