4 Pics 1 Word: Mr. Miyago, A Single Seed, My Last Days and Kitten Therapy
There’s a lot to learn as C students. So in the spirit of both keeping it simple and diving deep our one C word (for the next two weeks) is challenge. Be not afraid; challenges are meant to be taken up- just like crosses. (curious about the odd photo above? join us in worship as I share the story of how a single seed- or two created the timing of a kitchen remodel).
Learning is challenging. The best teachers have a skill set that allows them to engage their students not only intellectually but also physically, emotionally and spiritually. That is a challenge. As students we need to be aware of what is going on inside of us so that we can know when we are ready to learn. To learn, we need to provide awareness and willingness, timing is important.
Desperation:Sometimes it is our desperation that makes us teachable. Subsequently that thought brought to mind, Mr Miyago and the Karate Kid in this video clip. The Karate Kid needed to learn- a lot. Mr Miyago taught him not only through words but also in actions. In the video linked above the message for the Karate Kid was; “ A person living with no forgiveness in their heart is living a worse punishment than death”.
There are 4 videos in this post. The one above is short as are two others. I encourage you to pause to watch each one and consider how they are connected to the word challenge. Have you ever heard of the game on the app 4Pics1Word? There are four pictures and then letters below the photos for a one word answer. You are already being given the answer/word that connects these videos:challenge. Jesus' words are often quite a challenge. I invite your curiosity to consider how they are speaking to you this week.
The gospel we read John 12:20-36 - this weekend shows Jesus as a wisdom teacher who seems to speak in ways that are confusing. A single grain of wheat falling into the earth and it dies to bear much fruit? Single grains growing… this is Lent which means spring so growing seems like a good thing to consider.
Growing:Here is a cool video of a single seed that shows both what is happening above and below ground over 25 days. I encourage you to click on that link and take 3 minutes to watch that single seed grow. Use the 3 minutes as as a meditation. Often to enhance our learning we need to slow down and pause. .
Growing is challenging. Sometimes we are unwilling to grow. We might keep choosing the comfort of just staying in dark. Jesus calls us to be courageous in the challenge of learning something new. When it comes to challenges; following Jesus will allow for a lifetime of learning. That is challenging- the learning is only over when we die. There is no degree to be had, the learning is lifelong. This is Part 1 of a 2 part Blog post as we finish up our “Being C Students” theme for our lenten journey.
Dying: A big challenge is to even address this. The manner in which we will die and the day we will die we do not know. That we will die is often a taboo topic. Denial about our death, our finitude, is often deep seated. Jesus is unafraid to speak of his death. What about you? How is it for you to speak of death, dying, your finitude?
Several years ago, I first saw this video produced by SoulPancake in their series, My Last Days. Unlike the two videos above it is longer- 22 minutes. It can evoke deep feelings and be very challenging. It is intense and enlightening as it speaks out loud what is often feared and left unspoken.
If you are willing to enter into the challenge of a deeper exploration of death, dying and finitude take the time to watch this video. Recently a full length movie, Clouds ,was made based on the true story of Zach Sobiech who is featured in the video above. If you click on that "Clouds link" you can see the movie trailer- it is only two and a half minutes long.
Comfort: Learning will take us out of our comfort zones. One of the challenges is to be true to ourselves and discern when we need to choose comfort over challenge. Both are important. As I conclude part one of this two part series here is a fourth video (kitten therapy) that is gentle, softer and might be what you need today. There will be times where it is important to pause, to allow the learning to be let inside us. Pausing to know when we need comfort and consolation is a skill to hone to create a conducive learning environment for ourselves. We need to find the balance and the timing.
Learning is challenging. As we learn, we need the balance of knowing when to enter into deeper territory; emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually and when we need the stress reduction that creates the calm necessary to integrate what we learn. You get to choose. Four videos, one word=challenge.
As we acknowledge that learning is lifelong we get to ask God's guidance and direction. After you ask; listen. Listening is a key learning skill. Also, take learning one step at a time . Come back here later if you don't have the time now or it's too intense to watch a video that will likely bring up deep feelings. This is Part 1 and Part 2 will be here next week so take your time, as we keep exploring the challenge of being a C student.
In the gospel reading for this week Jesus speaks of the challenges of losing one’s life. Jesus is preparing his followers for the challenges ahead. He is planting the seeds of what it will look like to serve. He encourages them now to walk in the light, while it is here, before the darkness comes… timing is important. The gospel reading ends with Jesus hiding. Jesus knew when he needed to depart and hide. Challenges are on the way.
To be continued….