Wednesday, February 8, 2017

"As White As Snow"

30 Day Writing Challenge

Tomorrow will be better because today I learned . . . 

Today my seminary students worked on a self-guided project studying the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The room was quiet. The students kept their fingers in between Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and flipped back and forth between the 4 books writing things they didn’t want to forget in their scripture margins and journals. There was a peaceful reverence in the room as they studied individually what the Savior had endured alone. It was still and so sweet watching them focus. I stood and soaked in the calm and watched them learn. Occasionally I walked (as quietly as my squeaky shoes allow) around the classroom and whispered to the students to teach me what they’d discovered. Several times I stopped at the window in the back of the classroom and watched the snow fall. It never quit. It was a beautiful insulation – soft, white, and silent. It covered the litter and smashed the weeds in the vacant lot by us. It silenced the kids’ yelling and the revving motors that come from the busy high school campus across the street. It dulled the lights from the emergency vehicles at the assisted living center next door.

Before it was time for the students to go back to the school, several shared what they’d learned and what they planned to do with it. One said the irony and hypocrisy was what most impressed her. The chief priests, Sadducees, and Pharisees prided themselves on their strict observance of law and yet they broke several laws when it suited their goal to have Christ crucified. She said she saw it in herself. She knows to be kind and to love and look for the good in everyone, and does for the most part, but she doesn’t hesitate to set that aside and yell defeat and hurl sarcasm when she’s on the soccer field or in the bleachers because they’re “opponents.” Another student said that she had never really been able to fathom His pain, but having just dislocated her knee cap and reading how the guards had come to break Christ’s legs as He hung on the cross (but didn’t because He was already dead) put a new perspective on the price He’d paid so she could have eternal life. She said she wouldn’t take His pain for granted so easily in the future. Another student said he was so grateful for the control over anger and revenge that the Savior showed in the middle of suffering. He said he could better control his frustration watching the Savior’s example. Another student said that it was obvious to feel Christ’s love and unselfish care for those who followed Him because He never worried about His own needs as He hung on the cross until after He had taken care of everyone else. First he asked the Father to forgive the guards and then asked John to care for his mother, and only after they were cared and prayed for did he say, “I thirst.” The student vowed to be less selfish.

This rather ordinary day was a rather extraordinary object lesson for Isaiah 1:18

Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord,
though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow, 
though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.

But it wasn’t an object lesson for the students because they didn’t see it, they were part of it. It was an object lesson for me. The Savior's object lessons are the best because He uses real things – fish, loaves, coins, sheep, snow – and people. He never forgets His people and today it was His students.

Each day the kids walk across the high school parking lot and the street to get to the seminary building. Most days I glance out the window and watch them. Sometimes they walk in groups and sometimes they walk alone; sometimes they laugh (like today when two boys hit a patch of ice and both went down) and sometimes they don’t (like today when they pulled their hoods up, put their heads down, and walked neck forward into the blowing snow); sometimes they want to come to seminary, sometimes they don’t. They walk in perfect weather and they walk in storms. They come to reason together with the Savior and learn about repentance and forgiveness. He teaches them He can remove the litter and sin from their lives and He has the power to blanket them with forgiveness. Today as it snowed and my students studied so diligently to learn about the Savior's last hours on earth, they taught me more permanently of His power and purpose.  Tomorrow will be better because of it.  


melanie said...

Absolutely beautiful, Jane. Since I can't be taught in your seminary class (though I wish I could!), I'm grateful you'll teach me here. I needed every word. Thank you.

Michelle said...