From Pastor to Pupils
Presenting the National Anthem in a School environment
When we say we want to see our country renewed, revived, renaissanced [sic], what do we mean? Well if our desire falls anywhere short of seeing our nation turning to the one, true God, faith in Jesus Christ His Son, a repentance, which is a turning away from sin and a turning to Him, we’ve missed the point of the Gospel. Social concerns need to be addressed, divisions of all kinds need to be confronted, but primarily people need the Lord. All else flows out of right relationship with Him.
Where to start? I don’t have a silver bullet, but we have established relationships with the schools in our areas. We provide various services to them (I go into the High School once a week and provide counselling, the Primary School once a week comes to the church and does drama, singing and other activities), but those activities are all rooted in the Word. I guess you could call it Gospel focused social concern.
In the following set of articles I briefly describe the devotionals that we’re currently presenting to the schools in our area. We work line by line through the national anthem of South Africa during the school assembly. The Gospel goes out each week, which is what the church wants, and the school benefits because currently nation building and the national anthem are in the spotlight.
Again, this is a work in progress and I’ll be most grateful if you gave me feedback.
Listen also to our prayers – Yizwa imithandazo yethu
The third line, ‘Yizwa imithandazo yethu’, translates to ‘Listen also to our prayers’.
Listen to this text, Philippians 4:6 – 7,
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Three things about the text above (I’m a Baptist, we do everything in threes):
Number 1, what can we take to the Lord? EVERYTHING! How cold it was this morning, that we’re hungry, that our parents are cross with us, that our school work isn’t done, that we don’t understand something about the world, that we’re happy, that we’re sad, that we’re grateful, that we love Him, that we’re confused… EVERYTHING! God is our Father, He wants to hear our prayers. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything…”
Number 2, is very closely connected to number 1, and that’s how are we to approach God. The text says by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Speaking to God is a little like phoning your Gogo (granny) on a Sunday evening. You thank her for the presents she sent up last week, you tell her about your school day and how hard your exams are and how scary your teacher is and how horrible Temba on the playground is, and you tell her how much you’re looking forward to visiting her because she’s the best cook in the world, and, and, and… you communicate. Different things, maybe you ask for something, maybe you say thank you for something, maybe you tell her that you miss her. Prayer is the same. It’s not a robotic activity, it’s an open conversation. Our Father wants to hear from us.
Number 3, If you’re in grade three and you go to your father and you say, “Tata, ndifuna imotor” (“Dad, I want a car”), he’s going to say “?!” don’t be mad, you don’t even have a driver’s licence yet. Thing is not everything we ask our father’s for they give us. And often the reason they don’t is for our own good. Here’s the thing, if our earthy parents know enough not to pander to our every whim how much more so our heavenly Father? What then is the result of our prayers? “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The peace we have is that we’ve handed our problem over to God. He is big, He can handle anything.
God’s people present their needs, their desires, their hopes, their thankfulness, their adorations to their God.
The Gospel message is very appropriately expounded at this point, because the Gospel is appropriate for every point. God is Holy; this means that He is separated from sin. Man is sinful; he is separated from God. In actual fact, by default God is not our Father. Yet Jesus, the Son of God, died in our place that we might be called sons of God. By believing in Him, trusting Him completely, turning from our sin and turning to Him, receiving the free gift of salvation, we are reconciled to God. Then we might boldly approach the throne of grace, not in our own righteousness but in his Son Jesus’.