From the Word
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
Change produces challenges and opportunities. Sometimes the change is not very drastic, so the challenges are less stressful, but the opportunities often less appealing. Serious change produces stressful and difficult challenges, but also innovative, creative, and often lasting, applications to meet the opportunity created by the change. The pandemic has been of a drastic/serious nature. The challenges have weighed heavily on our minds, hearts, and budgets. The opportunities have brought innovation in regard to the simple and the complex, and have given us family bonding and a greater appreciation for the “normal” aspects of life that we now look forward to. Instead of the “good old days” we now have the good recent days.
Change in societal circumstances has always brought change in the way we educate our children. Within the last 200 years that change moved from primarily home education to primarily separate school education. Within the last two months it has gone from mostly in school to entirely at home, with admittedly greater resources available for home schooling. How long this change will last, we don’t know. Our prayers must go out for our teachers, who are presently being asked to prepare for the coming school year as if it will be at the school, and also as if it will be in the classroom. This is asking a lot in a very short period of time.
Ultimately, the responsibility for teaching children rests with parents. This is not in the constitution of our nation or state; it is in God’s Word. Parents are called to raise their children according to God’s Word. That means equipping them to live as members of society, but also, more importantly, to live as God’s children. They are to learn to live as saints/sinners in a sinful world. The Church, can, should, and does help in this. The pandemic has been proof that innovation and creativity in how to teach is as necessary for the Church as for all other institutions in society. In the 36 years I have been a pastor, I have changed the way I teach as creativity has presented new opportunities. But the content has remained the same. God’s Word can be taught in any number of ways. We must constantly look for innovative ways to bring the wonder of God’s Word to people. But we cannot, must not, and will not change the content of Law and Gospel, sin and grace, love, joy, peace, and eternity inscribed by the Holy Spirit in the timeless and timely truth of the Word of God. We look for the new and creative to teach the Old and New Testaments of God; that our lives may be defined by the words of Psalm 119, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”