I think it’s quite a common quirk, but I have a habit of making up silly songs throughout the day. None of them makes any sense so Ed Sheeran needn’t worry about me as competition. Sometimes I make up a tune but generally I fit my words to well-known songs, so this morning I was singing the Pink Floyd tune, Another Brick in the Wall. The words would have been something like “I have a dog whose name is Max” which replaces the more famous “We don’t need no education”, and so on. I generally stop after about two lines because I can never find words that rhyme.
Anyway, as I was singing away this morning I remembered that the children who appeared in the video accompanying the Pink Floyd song were brought out of school to make the video by a teacher friend of Roger Waters, one of the band members. I don’t believe he sought permission from the school or parents and in those days there would be no risk assessment. If the teacher did it today he would soon be looking for another job.
Ironically, Pink Floyd wrote a song deriding education using skills of reading and writing taught to them by teachers. As a former teacher, it’s not my favourite song, since it criticises an honourable profession. The vast majority of teachers do a great job without the sarcasm and mind-control mentioned in the song. A great teacher is a great asset. A great teacher can make a great difference, not just by teaching knowledge and skills but by developing understanding and wisdom and living their life as an example.
The Apostle Paul had a great teacher who he spoke about, a man called Gamaliel who was a Jewish Pharisee and teacher of the law. He’s mentioned elsewhere in the Bible when the church was in its infancy and facing persecution. The Jewish leaders, the Sanhedrin, wanted to execute the apostles but Gamaliel, who was one of their number, spoke up and said, “Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (1) Here’s a wise man offering sound words that saved the lives of the apostles.
The apostles also had a great teacher. His name was Jesus and he had the unique experience of being both man and God. He is described as the Word of God and every word he spoke was the truth. Each word contained life and power, it had meaning and the mind of God behind it. Jesus was once at a home in a village called Bethany, not far from Jerusalem. Two sisters lived in the home, Martha and Mary. Martha did as expected and busied herself preparing food for her Guest, but it’s said of Mary that she “sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” (2) That was the best place to be. The Bible tells us that “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (3) Jesus is the word of God and Mary was having her life transformed as be spoke words that penetrated and judged the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. She was a better woman for having met and listened to Jesus.
Thankfully, the words of Jesus exist today contained within the Bible. The Bible is called the word of God as Jesus is called the Word of God. The book reveals the man/God to us and his words still have their life-changing power. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (4) That’s what is available to us, a life lived in all its fulness but how do we access it. Jesus also said, “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.” (5) A simple faith in Jesus, a heartfelt acceptance that he died for us coupled with a willingness to live for him, that secures eternal life, a life that can be lived to the full. We may wonder what we have to do to get right with God. The truth is, Jesus has done it all and we need to do nothing beyond exercise faith in him.
- Acts 5:38,39
- Luke 10:39
- Hebrews 4:12
- John 10:10
- John 3:16