(a.k.a. – Come, Holy Spirit)
It’s been my privilege to instruct a special group of students at CMS the past three years. I meet with the International Bilingual Music Program students five times each week to instruct English classes. One of our class periods is Bible. I’ve watched these kids gain knowledge, understanding, and form connections from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Recently, we’ve been studying Saul’s conversion, how God opened his eyes to the Gospel. As we studied this story, I saw some eye-opening in my classroom as well.
The lesson introduces before and after pictures of buildings, people, and the like. We discuss dramatic transformations, and apply this idea as we study Saul. Saul’s “before” picture certainly isn’t pretty. A man filled with hate, and unaware of the true nature of Jesus, Saul sought to persecute Christians. Convinced Jesus was a dangerous liar, Saul’s intention was to end the growth of the early church. Yet, God changed Saul’s heart on the road to Damascus – changing hate to love, creating a beautiful “after” picture of Paul, a missionary taking the good news of Christ to faraway lands.
The lesson ends by asking students to create “before” and “after” pictures of themselves, reflecting upon their experiences with God’s Word. The results were revealing, especially for Miya. Miya began Bible class three years ago purely as an academic subject. She was distant, avoided discussion, and was obviously relieved when the class period concluded. However, this year Miya began to engage, asking questions. Gracie, a Christian and good friend of Miya’s, began answering Miya’s questions and discussing the content further. Gracie was an ambassador of the faith. As a result, Miya’s “after” picture was far different than I could imagine.
In her “before” picture, Miya describes herself as an infant, brand new in her journey with Jesus. She had very little knowledge of the Bible, finding it strange, confusing, and even absurd. However, after three years of study, she expressed her growth into a girl. Her “after” picture shows a change, an openness to hear more. Miya acknowledges there is room for future growth, and it’s my prayer that her willingness to study the Gospel continues. Come, Holy Spirit, fill Miya. Teach her all things, and help her remember all that she has learned.