This week is secondary Spiritual Emphasis Week here at my Christian international school. What that means: Every day this week the teachers and students of the middle and high school grades gather together to sing (or in the case of some students, cross their arms and look embarrassed,) and listen to a sermon that is focused on relevance to their lives. Today was pretty cool- the kids were given paper, markers, nails, and hammers, and were invited to literally nail their fears, imperfections, and sins to the wooden cross erected especially for this day. The point was that Christ has already died for all of these things; literally to save us from ourselves. To me it was an impressive painting of humanity. If you think about it, it can be a difficult thing to stand up, and by doing so readily admit that one has in fact screwed up somewhere along the line. As far as the kids were concerned, I think it was a powerful thing for each one to see that humility in their peers. The same can be said for the teachers, who almost all went up. Some took a great sign that it began to rain at the end of the service, seemingly offering everyone their own personal veil of white noise to contemplate the cross and what they might offer up to it.
It has been interesting here, being around others with similar and different views of faith, and of a general way of life. Some of my angsty high schoolers profess to be atheists, but still come to youth group on Fridays(?) Some were raised Christian but struggle with what seems to be a lack of personal relationship to their faith.
As for me, I’m always figuring. I think when you stop asking questions, faith stops. For the most part I fit in well enough here, with two exceptions (excluding completely semantic differences in rules. If we were speaking in terms of Judaism, I would say I have issues with Talmudic interpretation as opposed to theological Torah-based disagreements- some rules I still just don't get.) My Catholic upbringing let me pray to/through Mother Mary, which the ‘Born-Again’ sect (what is another word for that? I dislike that term immensely-) does not do. Also, probably because of my Catholicism, I am pretty hesitant to attribute every bad thing that happens to the devil. The way some talk, the dude walks around here tapping people on the shoulder (and of course if you believe that, it’s totally fine by me.) I’m more interested in recognizing that as human beings, we create a lot of our own problems, trespasses against faith and against other people.
But, in true Muzungu Princess style, heading back to class after that impressive sermon, I promptly hydroplaned my sandal on a puddle and went flying to the cement. The students behind me (they were my own anyway,) instantly cracked up, and I skinned my knee (insert sympathy here, if between giggles you can muster any)! Still, at least I avoided the mud and saved my laptop any undue damage. So now all the boys laugh when they hear about it, and I have no problem admitting to my own mad skills at falling down in Uganda- and all the girls give me an apologetic ‘awww’ when they see I actually did rip some skin off my knee. Cool kids have battle scars. What can I say.
I promise I have fun stories too, and will share them soon- I've just been a little swamped with accreditation work for the school and the usual teaching job stuff- grading, lesson plans, etc. Oh, and my formal observation today. Yes, even in Uganda. So teacher friends, there you go. And of course, my principal intentionally picks my most difficult class ;) But we wouldn't be in the profession if we couldn't get it done!
Lots of love,