There must be some sort of ducts underneath parts of the floor at the dental clinic. A few of the tiles sounded hollow as I walked across them. /End random observation.
I waded through the halls of a public school today for the first time in my life. Not that I’ve never been in one. I have—a measly couple of times—but never very deep, never into a classroom, never during a class period, and certainly never as a guest speaker before. As one troupe of kids filed in I overheard an enthusiastic black boy demand, “Do we have a new student and a guest speaker?” “Actually,” the coach corrected, “We have two guest speakers.” Technically, we had a guest speaker and a guest speaker in training present at the Junior High, presenting a video on abortion and the choices involved—starting from the ground up with relationships. The kids soaked it up, asking tons of questions and paying careful attention. Except for during the movie when many of the boys covered their heads and couldn’t bear to look at the pictures of dismembered infants. Honestly, I never expected it to affect them so strongly. Don’t they all watch violent movies, play violent video games and make crude jokes? “That’s terrible,” one jockish looking boy choked, “Killing babies! That’s murder! Why don’t they go to jail for that?” Why don’t they? Because judges play God, insisting they have the right to decide who may live and who may not. Oh, by the way, though, it’s terrible, terrible to inflict the death penalty on convicted serial murderers. Forget prosecuting abortionists. Besides, removing those who inconvenience us is hardly considered murder anymore. I mean, really. Life’s not sacred because, sheesh, humanity was all a big accident anyway. But just show a few pictures to a classroom of fourteen-year-olds and they’re demanding justice. “The idiots!” several exclaimed. “As if anyone can’t tell that’s killing babies.”
The head coach who’d invited us had excitedly told us how she could see it’s already helping. “I know of five babies born this year, “ she said, “where the girls said they couldn’t abort after watching that movie. Those are just the ones who specifically told me!” Great, I pasted on a smile. Five babies? At least? In a Junior High? For starters, I made a mental note of the marker-board hanging on the wall of the health classroom we were using. “This week’s goal” it read: “Identify and describe all the parts of the male reproductive system.” And after sitting through a student advisory, my faith had turned to sight. If I’d be reporting to a superintendent, I’d have scribbled: completely out of control. I wanted to knock half a dozen boys’ heads together and then give the teacher a thorough talking-to on the topics of consistency and maintaining order. I thought the pictures of paper airplanes flying, notes passing, kids sitting on desks giggling were caricatures. Paste the word “naïve” on my forehead and send me to the wolves. Shai Linne’s song “School Daze” could hardly be labeled an exaggeration.
During the past several weeks of self-absorption and whining I neglected to mention several blessings, one being the restoration of our dishwasher, due to Papa’s cleverness and previous experience as an appliance repair man. “Hmm,” he said, lifting the float. Bingo! Perhaps even I could learn to fix dishwashers.
After much prayer and deliberation (really, more like a little prayer and much delaying) I’ve decided I need to fall back and regroup in my Bible reading. Somewhere toward the end of Exodus I lost focus, lost perspective, lost clarity. I know the five books of the law are profitable for me in some way, and I am determined to open my heart and mind to the Holy Spirit. David said, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things from Thy law!” This afternoon I read again about the building of the tabernacle, God’s abode among men, and the filling of the ark of the testimony. Shortly after the death of Jesus, the temple was destroyed and the ark has been missing since—in fact, it wasn’t even present at the time of Christ’s death, if I’m not mistaken. Under the new covenant, we are God’s tabernacle—His dwelling on earth. Literally, the ark of the testimony means simply that it was a container to hold testimonies of God. As I pondered this, pieces began to come together in an interesting pattern. We are to be witnesses of God’s glory and where can we store this testimony but in our hearts? “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Not only that, but Hebrews speaks of having our hearts sprinkled by the blood of Jesus, just as the priest used to sprinkled the mercy seat over the ark of the covenant. In every heart where Jesus, the great high priest, has sprinkled His blood, God is pleased to meet us in mercy. Inside our ark of testimony we have several interesting objects: the two tablets containing God’s law, a jar of manna and Aaron’s staff that budded. What more fitting? “I have hidden Thy word in my heart.” God’s law is summed up, Jesus said in two commandments: Love Yahweh with all you have and love your neighbor as yourself. The jar of manna? Jesus said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will never die.” Aaron’s staff was a sign to the people of Israel that God had chosen him to serve in the temple as priest—he and his descendents forever. We are a royal priesthood! A people chosen to proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light! What is the testimony that I should store in my heart as evidence of God’s presence in my temple? Jesus, the bread of life; God’s law, His word of truth; and my undeniable ability to approach Almighty God, through the way made clear by Jesus His Son, and offer myself a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable and perfect. Jesus, His word and worship.
Lord, Thou filled my ark with precious things
And Thou hast made Thy people priests and kings!
Thou fills us with life-giving bread,
Writes a law that leaves sin dead,
And places all beneath Thy mercy seat,
Sprinkled through Thy sacrifice complete.
Once, through a flood, an ark brought man and wife--
This ark holds my security through life.