Every generation aims to leave the world better for its children. We plan, develop, and hope that we would have used our time and resources well and in ways that the future generations will reap the benefits. But what about when we don’t? We lament that when we were children, it wasn’t a big deal to walk a few blocks to be with friends, but now that feels like a much less safe. The same technologies that promised to bring unlimited access and convenience to our lives are creating significant issues of conscience and integrity for our children. We have never expected a Utopia, but how does the world measure up to what we want for our children?
Being in Jackson makes this a very real and repeated conversation. It’s hard and counterproductive to raise our children in a vacuum, so we must be thoughtful and strategic in our assessment of what it means to grow up in this city. However, to know one’s self is only a part of navigating all of this. What do we do with what the world says to our children? What do we do with what the world seeks to do to our children? We talk about massive issues such as mass incarceration and health deficiencies, but we find ourselves exhausted before we even get to the solution phase. With so much to consider, where does one start? And is starting all the battle? While each of us would have a desire for our children to learn and flourish, we know that not every child has equal access to the wealth of resources needed to combat our spiritual and systemic brokenness. How are we seeing not only our own flesh and blood but the families and children who we share this city and our communities with as kindred? What pushes us to think and care for them as we do for our own. Again, if we are to make a judgment of what we’re leaving for our children and those around us to grow up in, we should be a people of great concern for the world around them.
So, what’s redemptive about such brokenness? This year during our daily morning assembly, we have talked about the Exodus from Egypt and how the people of Israel would not have understood this as an isolated event. This was a specific example of God’s faithfulness to them that had been promised to them generations ago. And there is definitely power in the contrast. For every episode of deliverance, the people would have been keenly aware of the crisis. Even as we’ve taught this, we try to help our students trace back what are the specific prayers being answered and what exactly the people of Israel are being delivered from. We’re hoping that these passages will make the transition away from being just really cool stories, to more of an inheritance that our students can share with believers across the ages. For one of our sweetest lessons, we got to see Moses give a timeless charge to the people of Israel as they prepared to enter “The Promised Land.” With Moses’ impending death, he challenged the people to remember what God had done for them and to even remember their sins and the brokenness and judgment that it brought with it. I can only imagine that folks back then had the same struggle we do in terms of lamenting the problems of the day, but not wanting to confront the part their own sins had played in it.
So again, where is the hope? Amid a heavy message, we see two things that can hit a 7-year-old, just as hard as it hits a 70-year-old. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 we read:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Moses is pointing a people who are prone to wander, to the only ultimate corrective measure. Life and blessing will be found in this counsel, and it gives really precise and clear instructions on how we are to regard the word of God that he has given us. We talked about what it looked like to think about scripture, to sing scripture, to post it around us and to contemplate on it in our minds and hearts. And then we talked about the beauty of God seeing and caring for even the children of the people of Israel. We talked about how students can sometimes feel like being children makes them not as important or valued in the world, but we see here God pointing the whole society towards the importance of them learning these things. We even see in Deuteronomy 4:9 that God is giving these commands so that “your children and your children’s children” souls would be diligently kept. Right there in morning assembly, we all rejoiced that The Lord was using even that day’s Bible lesson to call the children of the students at TRS to the family of believers which has spanned across the ages.
We know that our belief in a savior of the world doesn’t make these hard problems go away. Many of our students will still face many of the issues that we as a ministry work so hard to combat in their hearts and lives. However, we believe that like the people of Israel, we have an inheritance that no system or struggle can diminish. That’s why we pursue this work with great joy and we will continue to pray that the Lord would transform every inch of it starting with our needy hearts.
Head of School