We just finished up Easter week and are approaching the doldrums of self-quarantine until who-knows-when, but this is NOT one of the things that changed everything.
And if you know me personally, one might not be what you think. You may (or may not) know that I lost my mother Christmas 2018. It seems like it was just last year. My dad has been alone in his house, no plans to leave, and a tornado just hit his neighbourhood this week. My husband and I just returned from there. It was pretty awful, but this is also NOT one of the things that changed everything.
You may have heard me say that I got the call that I was about to lose my Mom and I needed to "COME NOW" as I was finishing the written part (one year's worth of lessons) of the Sunday School curriculum which has encapsulated her entire career as a teacher. It was an awful, beautiful, bittersweet, amazing moment. But this commitment is NOT one of the things that changed everything either.
After her passing, I didn't work on said lessons for a good long while. But then I realised that if I were at least working on the midweek activities, it would still feel like working with her and I would have her "with me" in a way.
So I tore into it again. I wished I could ask my mother questions occasionally, but I found I was able to call two aunts and a cousin sometimes and get a pretty good idea of what was needed. I worked furiously with every moment that I had in the office.
Somehow (and thank you, Higher Power) this task took less time than I thought it would, even though it was over several months. it was FUN. It was so neat finding Jesus in every lesson. There is still some tweaking and editing to be done with the core lessons along with artwork by a brilliant lady, Alycia Neighbours. But as far as the core content of SLEUTH FOR THE TRUTH elementary Sunday school curriculum goes? It is finished.
BUT WHAT 'CHANGED EVERYTHING?' NOTHING NEW. SOMETHING YOU ALREADY KNOW. AND WHAT I HAVE KNOWN ALL ALONG, BUT FELL IN LOVE WITH ONCE AGAIN. SOMETHING MADE ME WANT TO REMIND YOUNG PEOPLE THAT ...
GOD IS WITH THEM
“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” Deuteronomy 31:6, MSG
Guess what? *sigh* Organizing and writing the curriculum did NOT draw me closer to my mother as expected. In so many ways I did feel like I had the better insight to her heart, but that in itself is the key as to why, in some aspect, it did NOT make me feel like she was WITH me.
It did, however, remind me that someone else IS with me ... always. What all that work reminded me of was an international Sunday school lesson for 2020 and forever ... even though my Sunday school lessons may be taught from home for a long time.
And that lesson is, that according to the New Testament, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ is that He is the Son of God. I know that. You know that. But do your kids know that? Do they know that the invitation to know, acknowledge, and accept this truth about Jesus is seen in multiple verses in the Old Testament? And it is critical. Why? Because it is a Sunday school lesson for children that transcends time.
HIS SON, JESUS HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE
The Scriptural witness to the Son of God did not begin with the New Testament – it first emerges in the Old Testament in the abbreviated form of Son. While the number of Old Testament references to the Son of God don't seem like that in the New Testament, they are incredibly significant as they have helped Christians acknowledge that Jesus Christ IS indeed this Son of God.
According to the New Testament, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ is that He is the Son of God. The invitation to know, acknowledge, and accept this truth about Jesus is seen in multiple verses. And it is critical.
The Scriptural witness to the Son of God, however, did not begin with the New Testament – it first emerges in the Old Testament in the abbreviated form of Son. While the number of Old Testament references to Son [of God] doesn't seem like that in the New Testament, they are incredibly significant as they have helped Christians acknowledge that Jesus Christ IS indeed this Son of God.
Just as Paul instructs us that the gospel is patterned out in the Old Testament, he also points out that Christ was not simply patterned — He also was promised (I Corinthians 10:1-11), and He was already there to the Old Testament believers. And that ...
"These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes."
Yes, you've got it. Every hour I worked on this massive curriculum, I saw the key. I saw the Son of God everywhere. And I noticed that the beeline to mom's heart was, and always had been, Jesus. Every lesson from Genesis to Revelations, every activity, and every moment that flashed back to the Old Testament references was all about one thing ... the Saviour.
And THAT changed everything for me.
But why? Friend, I have always loved Jesus and just like you, there have been times in my life when I felt a little far away from Him, even doubted God. Yes, I have bible degrees, but I am also human. I have seen theology either enhance His presence or take a front seat to a real relationship with Him. At times thinking about God has become just that ... much more cerebral than sensitive.
And then I plugged away at this curriculum and this these teacher's guide Bible lessons that can teach both young and old about Jesus. Whether it was Genesis, Job, Joshua, John or Jude, the universal message and bottom-line common thread ... was Jesus. Over and over and over again - yes, even in Jeremiah. ;)
And, most importantly, NOW. And in their every step.
THEY HAVE A HEART-POWERED
This Jesus-Who-was-in-Genesis-is-in-ME fact did not surprise me, of course, but I became so inspired to pick up a detective's magnifying glass to look DEEP into the annals of Old Testament history in order to find Jesus even in places I might not expect.
So I picked up my very own heart-powered magnifying glass.
And found Him everywhere.
And I fell in love with Him all over again.
"But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise."
Galatians 3:25-27, MSG
Stories, accounts, and narratives are progressive by nature. The longer you learn, read or listen, or even do things with your hands, the more you will increasingly understand. And then? Then you have a real grip of all the information.
This understanding is accurate of God’s Word too.
The Bible is a story, a testimony of how God deals with humanity and of His plan to redeem them. Every week, in the SLEUTH FOR THE TRUTH curriculum, through short Bible school lessons or fun Sunday school crafts, you find the importance of the Bible and God's Plan for man, but most importantly you find JESUS CHRIST, the "golden thread" that ties ALL of the stories together, both in Old and New Testaments.
The Sleuth for the Truth curriculum is designed to read in a specific order, but that can certainly be tweaked. What matters is that there is mention of Jesus in EVERY. SINGLE. CLASS. Even through the summer Bible activities, the Students (and also their teachers) will have no other option than to see Him everywhere and fall in love with Him over - and over - and over - and over again.
So last week, in your homes, whether you celebrated Semana Santa, Heilige Woche, or Holy Week, remember that Jesus speaks your language. I pray that you found Him this Easter and the ensuing days of your life in a way you least expect ... whether you are learning/teaching more about Jesus in your homes ... or back with your church family after this corona crisis passes.
I even realized while putting this article together and closing up, that the "3 things" that will change everything are in fact God the Father, God the Son, and our heart-powered magnifying glass is God the Holy Spirit. I promise, I didn't realize this until now. Wow. *face palm*
If we teach our children (and let ourselves) remember that God has truly been with us and planned to be with us from the very beginning, that we love Him, and we THANK HIM for letting us love Him ...