09 July 2012
I am eightish. Second hour Sunday School is not my favorite. Often, after already attending first hour which my parents teach, I sneak away and go sit in church.
But sometimes there's no possibility of sneaking and so I stay. Mr. Allen, the teacher, offers a reward of Big Hunk candy bar when we memorize Psalm 23. Suddenly the class isn't so bad and I'm hooked. I get my Big Hunk and I love Psalm 23.
I am eleven. Mr. Allen calls and tells me he'd like to induct me into the "I Can Club." He knows I was elected ASB secretary at my school and thinks that's a great reason to allow me in. The "I Can Club" is for kids who show they can do "all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4.13. It means a lot and the verse always holds significance to me.
Now, I am thirty-five. I'm standing in foyer chatting with my cousin as the sermon begins. We are at a different church and living different lives. I have children who have learned Psalm 23 and would be inducted into the "I Can Club" if it were still in operation.
He sees us chatting instead of listening to the sermon and comes to greet us. My cousin and I say hello. She, too, is a former student of his.
Mr. Allen has walked through the valley of the shadow of death more than once in the past twenty years. He's faced pain and disappointment and loss.
Today we are his students again. He tells how good the sermon is, how we, too, can be like David, a witness for God in our generation. He asks if we are going to go in and listen. We nod yes, and smile.
He's my teacher still. He's persevered and remained faithful to his teaching. He's shown he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him. I pray to be the same.