Love in a Lutheran Primary School (Educational Article)

Updated: Jan 6, 2020

“…nothing communicates loving more powerfully than noticing.” (Fazal, Page 181)

“Being Jesus means noticing people just as Jesus noticed the woman who touched the hem of his garment to be healed. While that may not sound like a big deal, it is. Colossians 1:15 beautifully illustrates this complex mystery.” (p 184)

· The art of noticing people is an acquired skill.

· When we notice people, we make assumptions about them. We need to check those assumptions because they may be totally wrong.

· There are people in our life arena who appear to live their life on mute. How do I feel about that? What is happening in the life of a child who is continually flying under the radar?

· Jesus stopped and noticed people and when he did that he did it for us too. He did it to show us that we are called to live like him, to stop and create divine (Kairos/opportune) moments. Jesus did it to heal people both spiritually and physically. To slow down long enough to anticipate those moments in our time we need to STOP, NOTICE, TOUCH, SPEAK.

Fazal states, “It’s time we started acting and believing as if the Spirit of God lives in us, because he does. He has the words of life, and if we’ll let him, he can use us to give that life to others” (Fazal, p 189). He tells us to, “Own being Jesus”.

John Burke (2015, p248), in his discussion of ‘Relational Matters’ gives the encouragement that we are called to live for what really matters. The world tells us money matters, power matters, prestige matters and if we have those things we will be happy and successful. However, in striving for those things, and proving worthiness in front of family and others and worthy of their love and respect through those accomplishments, we could actually lose the love we seek and sacrifice the relationship we desire. When the relationships disintegrate, the things which we thought mattered are seen as dispensable; prestige, money, houses, cars etc. have no value when we have no one with which to share them. “The one who wins in life is not the one who has the most toys, but the one who has the best relationships” (Leadership Bible, Zondervan p420). Jesus said, “use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9).

“Everybody wants to change the world; nobody wants to love their neighbour! Yet all God needs us to do to change the world is to love God so we can love our neighbour as much as ourselves” (Burke, p 248). People do many great and wonderful things in the world’s eyes and even for charity and in Church groups, which is good. “But if we fail to love our families, our neighbours, our co-workers, and those in need whom God puts in our path, we’ve failed in the primary task God’s given us” (Burke p 248). Jesus made a point of showing that it’s the little unseen things that matter – giving a drink to a thirsty person, helping up a person who has fallen, giving food to someone in need, giving words of encouragement, taking time to listen and to visit with a lonely person or the sick (Matthew 25). Doing such things changes people and allows God’s love to touch them.

At the end of last year when the Leadership Team settled on the theme of LOVE for our school in 2017, having had the themes SHINE and GROW, many questions, thoughts and challenges began bouncing around in my head. How would we unpack such a huge theme in a concrete and meaningful way? At the same time this was happening, other concepts were impacting on my thinking and challenging me; suicide, depression and mental illness in Australia and New Zealand (statistics were released through the Ipswich Suicide Prevention & Awareness Network of which I am a member), resilience (Appendix A), lack of hope and a negative view of the world’s future by the media in relation to climate control, sustainability and fear for personal safety in a violent society. You may recall the terrorist events of 2016 in Brussels, Orlando, and Nice that made the biggest headlines around the globe. There were over 100 more terrorist attacks in 2016.

At the same time, as we are striving to be innovative and creative in teaching and learning and have so much knowledge, information, access to data and evidence at our fingertips, why are these issues seemingly becoming more prevalent in my thinking? Then I heard a comment that really resonated with me; Challies (2011 p77) tells us that, “Studies now show that many young people are actually losing their ability to relate to one another in an offline context. … Now, real-world communication feels threatening, less natural, less normal than typing a text message.” Challies says that our ability to communicate