The beginning of the school year is always a time of nostalgia for me. So much of my life was lived around the rhythms of a university. Of course, our family life has been structured around a school calendar. It seems teaching and educating our youth has been what my life has been structured around.
I think of the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song that reminds us to “teach the children well.” We have
prayed for all the students going to school and for the dedicated teachers. We even had a “Blessing of The Backpacks” at church the first week of school, blessing the pen, paper, books, children and teachers. Yes, we recognize the importance of teaching our children well. I am grateful for all the people who work in schools in order to teach our children well.
As preparation for my upcoming Bible study I spent time reading the book of Exodus. In particular Exodus 12: 26-28 which directs the Israelites to teach their children the meaning of the Passover, or Seder meal. The scripture reminds me of our sacred responsibility not only to teach reading, writing and arithmetic, but we have an even greater responsibility to teach our children the story of our faith.
Object Lessons Teach Story of Faith
Exodus recounts the story of the Exodus, and that Passover or Seder meal that was established to teach the children. The meal is intended to teach the children the great story of their faith, the historical and spiritual elements of the community and the faith.
In a similar way, our celebration of the Eucharist or Communion is a meal to help us
remember the central story of our faith; the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Sunday School and Junior Church also play an important role in teaching our children the story.
The Story of the Christian community is not only found in the New Testament. The story of our faith begins in the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament), and continues through the book of Revelation. The story of the Bible is indeed the greatest story ever told, for it is the story of God’s relationship to the human race. The main characters of the story are God and a people called to be a blessing to all the world.
The Hebrews found the story to be enough to sustain them in the Babylonian Exile, build a faith community upon return from Exile, and to sustain an identity even through to this century. The Church has found this Story to be powerful enough to withstand all the world has thrown at it. It is a peculiar story of God who was made known in the person of Jesus Christ whose life could not be contained in the grave.
This is our story and we need to teach it to our children. It is a story with the power to change lives and our communities.
From God’s Word
Exodus 12:26-28 New International Version (NIV)
26 And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ 27 then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” Then the people bowed down and worshiped. 28 The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.
“Teach The Children Well,” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.