Looking at Facebook memories, I’ve just discovered that 5 years ago today was the last day pupils attended my school before it closed as part of the authority’s reorganisation plans. It’s sent me into a reflective state, remembering so many wonderful times. I worked with great people but it was the children who made the school what it was. We had our fair share of naughties but most of them just needed someone to care. We also had outstanding pupils and guess what, they also needed someone to care.
My maxim in my headteacher years was to love the children first and teach them second. Loving children is not a common aim of schools especially secondary schools like mine. Teach them, educate them, help them to become better citizens, make sure they fulfil their potential, but I’ve never heard anyone say love them, and yet that is an obvious thing to do. Children, like their parents, are trying to navigate their way through a difficult world. It’s hard, and they get scared. A lot of them didn’t have anyone choosing or able to offer support at home so we had to step in. We cared for them, spent time listening to their sad stories, encouraged them and supported their learning.
As I’ve said above, parents are also having to navigate a difficult world, and they get scared too. It’s true of all adults. We wake up in the morning and we never know what will happen in a day. Today isn’t a bad day, but yesterday I received some unwelcome and upsetting news that came out of the blue. How many times does that happen to you? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had someone who loved and supported you? Some of you will of course. You may have a supportive partner or a great friend, but they don’t always have the answers, and what happens if their day is also bad, even worse than yours. There is one friend you can have who will always be there for you and who has the answers you need. He can comfort you like no other and the love he shows can overwhelm you. His name is Jesus.
Jesus is not just anyone. According to the Bible, and accepted by billions of people over the past 2000 years, he is the Son of God. Your attitude to Jesus might be negative, and you may think that only naïve people needing an emotional crutch turn to him, but it’s billions of followers we’re talking about including many of the world’s greatest minds. They can’t all need a crutch. Many have lost their lives because of their faith in Jesus, and today there are Christians in labour camps being subjected to hard labour until they die. Persecution and fear of death is a daily reality for millions of Christians today. Why stick with Jesus if he isn’t real unless they have discovered something special about him?
They have of course. They’ve discovered that not only is he the Son of God but he gave up his life for them taking the punishment for their sins. They believe that he died, was buried, rose from the dead and is alive today. He is a living Saviour with whom they can interact if they choose. Billions have believed it, including me, and we’ve found that the living Jesus is a wonderful Saviour who loves us and cares for us. We can go through this life knowing that however bad the experiences we pass through Jesus passes through it with us, our daily source of strength and comfort. He loves us and we are his chief focus.
Being loved unconditionally by the Son of God is wonderful and something I want for you. Jesus loves you. God his Father loves you. This is what the Bible says about God’s love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (1) God willingly allowed his Son to die because he loves you and wants you with him for eternity. He wants you to know his love and all that it brings. It’s yours if you just turn to him in faith.
- John 3:16