Ezekiel · Hymns

He Gives Hope

Today I’m going to tell you about something not in today’s reading.  I’m going to tell you about hope.  You all know I am a student teacher – and in February I was transferred from the one of the richest middle schools in the state to a Catholic High School where the vast majority of the students are people of colour living in functional poverty.  There is a stark contrast in these situations.  The age of my students, the material they are learning, their understanding of the world, their privilege and not surprisingly how religion is handled.  While not all of my students are Catholic, they are all required to take four years of Catholic based theology.  This week I got to join in on a lesson on Ezekiel, and it reminded me why we as educators do what we do.

Ezekiel was the depths of hell on Earth, he lived amongst the worse physical and spiritual conditions that a person could, and he lived with what is certainly a level of mental illness as well.  But God did not abandon him.  God instilled hope through visions.  The class I joined in on struggled through the difficult language of Ezekiel 37, it is a passage that many adults dismiss because of the challenging structure and bizarre imagery – and the teacher knew it.  So he showed them this…

Did you know that old classroom song is actually a historical hymn?  And next he played…

And then busted out this one…

All of this is to say God places hope in the depths.  God spoke to Ezekiel who designed a temple he would never live to see.  My students struggle with hunger, shelter and finding a way to wash their uniforms, the things that my children wont even know they are taking for granted.  My students have few people who have graduated high school or college in their immediate lives, they have few people to help with homework or all the little things that overwhelm teenagers.  In many cases these children are the product of abuse cycles and generational poverty – they live in the best approximation of hell American could give them.  But God gave them hope – he gave them the chance to attend a school with focused and driven adults, where a vision of a different future exists.  And he gave them that hope through teachers who know that spending 15 minutes with YouTube videos is worthy time spent.  Because a class of 14 year olds left third period understanding that Ezekiel heard God deep in the trenches of misery.  And they left third period learning that Lauryn Hill made an unpopular choice because of her faith and still chased her dreams.

Have hope, dear readers, for I have seen the future – and they are a bright bunch of kids.

Faithfully yours,
Sarah

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