Today I was finally able to meet with my Jr. High/High School class for the first time in months. Since late October there seemed to always be a new way to be sure that we didn't meet. One day the church was closed due to an active police situation. Another I had a vacation scheduled. One Sunday half the family had the plague. Then we had a nasty ice storm. Of course we also had holidays and pageant planning in there as well. It was good to be back!
Since we had already missed half of the Epiphany season in class, I decided to look back at some of the Gospel readings we had missed.
We started with defining Epiphany:
From there we spent a short time on four different Gospel readings, all from Matthew. We started with Jesus calling James and John with nothing more than "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people." We talked about what kind of faith and belief that must have taken - to leave everything you know behind to follow someone and join a cause you had only just heard about. We asked the question: what would motivate you to action? What cause or event would inspire you to move from a place of comfort and stability? It's a tough one to answer.
The next Gospel reading was the Beatitudes. There is comfort in those words: blessed. Merciful. Pure in heart. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Peacemakers.
Today's Gospel reading found Jesus continuing his sermon on the mount and calling the listeners "the light of the world." We discussed the idea that we are called and empowered to be change agents. We should not - cannot - hide our light. We must let others see our good works (as Jesus continued) and be changed by them.
Finally, we looked ahead to the Gospel appointed for February 19th. In this passage, Jesus is instructing his followers to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Jesus notes that it is easy to love those who love you. Even the tax collectors can do that. (Biblical insults don't get much worse than acting like a tax collector!!)
These questions are not easy, but I'm not sure true Christianity was ever meant to be.
I know that I don't have all the answers, but I am excited to try to find some of them with my class.
For the full document from today's class, click here.