Our Best Teacher

My people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.

Psalm 78:1-

Before we began a recent visit with our granddaughters, each one had a few minutes of homework to complete. Though the fifth grader’s word study page was easy-peasy, the seventh grader’s math threw me. Fortunately, she understood precisely what to do. The third grader’s math involved place value which, fortunately, hasn’t changed since I taught third grade. I secretly wished I could sit in on a class with any of my granddaughters, especially that seventh grader!

Early in my teaching career, I developed the skills I needed to reach my students. I began by getting the attention of my students. I then kept their attention by making what I had to say interesting and understandable. Finally, I gave them reason to remember what I shared.

Perhaps this is the reason Jesus repeated his lessons through his parables. When I doubt that I’m loved, I recall the parables of The Good Shepherd, The Pearl of Great Price and The Lost Coin. In each one, everything is set aside in order to pursue that which is lost. The message? Regardless of where I hide, God does whatever it takes to watch over me and to love me. When I doubt that I can possibly be forgiven, I recall the parables of The Prodigal Son, The Unjust Judge and The Friend at Midnight. The message? Regardless of how the world responds to my guilt, God always looks beyond what I have done to embrace me and to encourage me to be begin anew.

It seems to me that Jesus’ effort was well placed. Jesus’ lessons regarding God’s mercy and patience, forgiveness and love will remain with me always.

Generous God, thank you for gifting humankind with such a great teacher. Help us to take Jesus’ lessons to heart.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Again?

My people hear my teaching,
listen to the words of my mouth…

From Psalm 78:1-2

Very early in my career, I came to understand some very important aspects of teaching. I had to get the attention of my students, keep their attention by making what I had to say interesting and understandable, and I had to give them reason to remember what I shared with them.

As a reading teacher, I became very good at convincing my most reluctant students to read just about anything. The greater challenge came in convincing them to approach their textbooks with the same enthusiasm. I sympathized with them because I know that actually applying what we learn can be extremely difficult in this world of ours.

When I prepare these reflections, I suppose I’m teaching in a way. I sometimes wonder if I’m being too redundant. Do I touch upon the topic of God’s love too often? The answer to this question came before I finished typing it. I don’t think any of us can hear too much regarding God’s love. When I doubt that I’m loved by those around me, I remember that God is also around me and my doubt is dispelled. Regardless of who else is in the crowd, God watches over me. When I doubt that I can possibly be forgiven, the world’s response to my guilt doesn’t matter. God always looks beyond what I have done to embrace me and to encourage me to be begin anew. No, I don’t think any of us can hear -or read- too much about God’s love. God’s love is what makes this life do-able.

Loving God, thank you for loving us so completely, no matter what!

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Lessons Worth Learning

My people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.

Psalm 78:1-

Early in my career, I came to understand some very important aspects of teaching. To get my message across, I first had to get the attention of my students. Then, I had to keep their attention by making what I had to say interesting and understandable. Finally, I had to give them reason to remember what I shared.

Perhaps this is the reason Jesus taught the same message over and over again through a variety of parables. When I doubt that I am loved, I need only to recall the parables of The Good Shepherd, The Pearl of Great Price and The Lost Coin. In each one, everything is set aside in order to pursue that which is missing. The message? Regardless of where I hide, God does whatever it takes to watch over me and to love me every minute of every day. When I doubt that I can possibly be forgiven, I need only to recall the parables of The Prodigal Son, The Unjust Judge and The Friend at Midnight. The message? Regardless of how the world responds to my guilt, God always looks beyond what I have done to embrace me and to encourage me to be begin anew.

It seems to me that Jesus’ effort was well placed, at least for me. I can’t help embracing everything Jesus said regarding God’s mercy and patience, forgiveness and love. These bits of wisdom are what make this life doable for me.

Generous God, thank you for gifting humankind with such a great teacher. Help each of us to take Jesus’ lessons to heart.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Loving Lessons

My people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.

Psalm 78:1

When I visited the library the other day, I couldn’t help noticing preschoolers and their parents as they browsed through the children’s shelves. It didn’t take much to get these wide-eyed readers-in-the-making to select a book. When I was a reading teacher, my students took a good deal of convincing to read. These were the children for whom reading was a tough gig. So it was that I became adept at devising ways to convince my charges to pick up the books I’d selected for them. I made it absolutely clear that they could not go on without knowing what lay ahead on the pages before them. Once I had them hooked, I urged them to approach their textbooks and homework with the same enthusiasm. I admit that I understood their reluctance. Applying what we know can sometimes be difficult for us all.

Perhaps this is the reason Jesus taught the same message again and again through his parables. When we doubt that we are loved, we need only to recall the parables of The Good Shepherd, The Pearl of Great Price and The Lost Coin. In each one, everything is set aside to pursue that which is missing. Regardless of where we hide, God does what it takes to find us and love us as well. When we doubt that we are forgiven, we must recall the parables of The Prodigal Son, The Unjust Judge and The Friend at Midnight. Regardless of how the world responds to our guilt, God looks beyond what we have done to embrace and encourage us to be begin anew.

Good teacher that he was, Jesus found the way to convince us of God’s love and all that this love entails.

Generous God, thank you for the many lessons which convince us of your loving ways.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Always Loved

My people hear my teaching,
listen to the words of my mouth
I will open my mouth with a parable…
Psalm 78:1-2

Early on, I came to understand some very important aspects of teaching. I first had to get the attention of my students. Secondly, I had to keep their attention by making what I had to say interesting and understandable. Finally, I had to give my listeners reason to remember what I shared with them.

As a reading teacher, I became very good at convincing my most reluctant students to read just about anything. The greater challenge came in convincing them to approach their textbooks with the same enthusiasm. I sympathized with them because I knew that actually applying what we learn can be difficult for us all.

Perhaps this is the reason Jesus taught the same message over and over again through a variety of parables. When I doubt that I am loved, I recall the parables of The Good Shepherd, The Pearl of Great Price and The Lost Coin. In each one, everything is set aside in order to pursue that which is missing. The message? Regardless of where I hide, God does what it takes to watch over me and to love me. When I doubt that I can possibly be forgiven, I need only to recall the parables of The Prodigal Son, The Unjust Judge and The Friend at Midnight. The message? Regardless of how the world responds to my guilt, God always looks beyond what I have done to embrace me and to encourage me to be begin anew.

Loving God, thank you for loving us so completely, no matter what!

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved