Sunday, April 8, 2007

jesus walks

I was asked to teach today's lesson for the junior high group at church. I felt honored but very nervous, because while I truly love the Lord and get the general gist of living in a pleasing way, I often feel like I'm still at the CliffsNotes stage of Christianity. So, really, young & fabulous youth pastor, you want to put ME in for this gig? It's EASTER. You know - when people who never come to church come to church. This could be a make-or-break kind of day for a bunch of families. If I screw up some points (so, which guy kissed Jesus and which one denied him? And did I really just say 'cock' in church?) or happen to mention the similarities between Christ and Darth Vader, we could lose entire neighborhoods.

But here is yet another example of how God works in us that I can share with teenagers who don't believe me anyway. I prayed hard, borrowing one of Anne Lamott's best prayers - "Help me, help me." And then I got to work reading the lessons and scripture the youth pastor e-mailed. It's not that I don't know and understand the story of Easter; it's the foundation of Christianity for Pete's sake. (Ha ha, get it? Pete? St. Peter? Nevermind...). As a teacher, it's often not the material that gets me anxious, it's the making-it-relevant-to-young people part that gets my brain pounding into a lovely headache, which I ignore until the pain causes me to shriek at my family. Go, Christian mom/teacher!

Anyhow, once I made myself a schedule (I cannot live without lists) and actually did the work I was going to ask the students to do, everything felt much better. Whenever I put together a lesson, I try to get back to the place I was at 12 - knowing a lot of facts but not understanding much, especially not getting how to move information from the classroom to my real life. How can I help these guys apply all this God-stuff to every part of their angst-ridden, Fergilicious, MySpaced-out young lives? So as I read through the questions ("How would you feel if Jesus walked next to you and you didn't recognize him?") and answered them, stuff I thought I understood suddenly made much more sense to me. I went beyond the basic 'died for our sins, yeah yeah,' attitude toward Easter to feeling more like Jesus really is someone I would want to walk with. Someone I would gladly follow, not only for the free pass into Heaven (which is great, don't get me wrong) but also because He's so frickin' smooth and smart. Good stuff. Happy Easter, really.