… living out the gospel is not what I do, but what I am. I do not just serve my Lord through my work, but in my life. I do it as parent, as friend, as citizen, in my work and wherever I am. It is my spiritual worship. (Barry Kahl, Director of Lutheran Education, S.A./NT District).
Barry was writing about thoughts, which he pondered on, after being asked what he did for a living. The simple reply he gave to the question was, ‘I work for Lutheran Schools’. However, in his article of reflections about what that means is the wonderful statement above.
This statement has captured in a nutshell, the core of what schools like Bethany are all about. Lutheran schools are there for their students and the development of the relationship students are invited to have with God and the world in which they live. In our school community there is a commitment to a set of core values and standards. There is a commitment to people and at the heart of each school day our relationships with others.
We all know what Barry means when we experience it. We feel encouraged, valued, and special and it is the people around us who make us feel that way. We feel it in the many small actions and gestures that come our way: a smile of acknowledgement, a sharing of some news, a welcome greeting, an invitation to play or a word of thanks or praise. In the classroom, a teacher taking special interest to help a student improve a skill or offering extra help because she noticed not because she was asked. Parents feel it too, when a teacher puts herself out to talk at a time that is not convenient.
Sometimes, we may not feel happy at the time about the care and concern shown but reflecting afterwards clearly recognize that out of love it was necessary for the problem to be brought up and faced. Living for Jesus is both gift and task. It means accepting the gifts as well as taking the responsibilities. Living our Christian lives means lots of things, but these are among them:
# Being able to count on each other for help
# Being able to trust each other to keep confidences
# Helping each other to be better persons
# Holding up standards for each other
# Being sincere about our ideals
# Being authentic about our shortcomings
# Extending our caring to forgiving and accepting forgiveness
# Having an attitude of service to others
These are hard things to teach; they need to be experienced and lived. We learn them through experiencing them as gifts from others.
God help us to care.
Neil P. Schiller