The phrase, “His love endures forever” is repeated 5 times in Psalm 118 showing us that God’s love is unchanging in the midst of changing situations. In Psalm 136, it is repeated 26 times as a reminder of God’s never-ending love for us. As my class reflected on God’s love enduring forever, they also reflected on the things for which they are thankful.
After brainstorming a “thankful list” on their own, each student wrote a psalm of thanks and repeated the phrase, “His love endures forever” after each item. It was a great way to think about all the good things that God has given to us, even during these uncertain times. As we continue to live and adapt in this ever-changing pandemic world, it is with thankful hearts that we can praise God for his endless love, mercy, kindness, and faithfulness that never fails.
Give thanks for the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 118:1 and Psalm 136:1
I have a small card under the glass on my desk at school that bears a simple, yet profound, message: “Everything seems impossible until it is done.” I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about that card lately.
It wasn’t too many days ago that none of us were too sure how the school year would begin. New (and often contradictory) regulations and guidelines were hemorrhaging out of Sacramento, seemingly hourly. Newscasters made the most of the confusion, predicting a crisis in classrooms through California and the nation, as a whole. Meanwhile, here in Orange, St. John’s Lutheran church and school leadership quietly spent the last seven months intensely studying the guidelines, creating policy, and then deftly shifting it to follow the new guidelines that would ultimately determine how St. John’s Lutheran School would face a challenging (and, at times, a daunting) future.
Yet, here we are.
It’s the second week of school for all of us. Preschool through the Sixth Grades are in their proper classrooms, being taught by hardworking, caring, and somewhat exhausted Christian teachers. While the Seventh and Eighth Grade students are still learning online, the word going around is that, given the current trends, Seventh and Eighth Graders could be back in the Chapman Building in a couple of weeks.
Far from the potential train wreck predicted by some, the opening of St. John’s Lutheran School has been, calm and orderly and, in a sense, predictable. We’ve met the challenges and pressed forward. Given the predictions of disaster, how has St. John’s Lutheran School achieved such a feat?
It wasn’t us.
God’s Hand has clearly been at work. In His eternal foresight, Our Lord has placed the right leaders in positions where their skills are in direct alignment with what needed to be done – and when. The right people became “Covid-19” experts. The right campus management team envisioned the right policies that allowed the right administrators to compose the right words for the waiver, which was submitted to the right people, at the right time, to effect the right outcome. The right teachers prepared for both styles of learning – online and face-to-face – so that, whichever mode was needed could be implemented immediately. Parents stood in solidarity with St. John’s Lutheran School, praying, petitioning, and holding their ground as SJLS supporters even when things looked a bit dicey.
Because of the power of the Almighty, working with and through the people mentioned in the paragraph above, St. John’s Lutheran School opened, as it should have, on the date that was determined last January, before most Americans had ever heard of plague known as “Covid-19.” While not, perhaps, in the same league as changing water into wine, I consider what happened here miraculous, given the challenges the church and school faced – and is facing today.
God is good. God is powerful. God engages with His people. We’ve just seen that here at St. John’s.
Like you, I’m awed. And, of course, highly thankful.
Kevin G. Smith
Seventh Grade Language Arts & Christian Faith and Life