We just wrapped our third week of the school year (not including a week of meetings). Thanks to a state holiday, this three-day weekend has been something of a “pause” button for me. Most of my class curriculum is turning from unit one to unit two at this point. More than that, I’ve finished three weeks of chapel and now enter a few weeks where I serve as “emcee” but not key speaker.
The stretch has been good for me. The work day begins pretty early, and I find myself working almost non-stop through the day. It’s good for me, though, to stay on my toes. The unexpected part of things has been the amount of meetings that I attend or lead-out in. That will ebb and flow throughout the semester, I think. I am grateful that I have a couple of prep periods back-to-back to help out.
I have now spoken in chapel more in three weeks than I did in 14 years. Week One focused on “Why School.” It was a bit broad and abstract, but I wanted to try and cast the work that students do across a broader horizon, one that sees academic work as something that points to something intellectual (in the best sense) with the assumption that what we do with our minds matters.
Week Two focused on “Why the Biblical Story.” For years now, we have used N. T. Wright’s “five-act play” image in our Bible classes. This was my opportunity to point out how the concept keeps us from seeing the Bible as a rulebook or a magic mirror (or even a Rorschach test, really). Instead, it is a narrative that we live into and out of. And while I used a clip from Disney’s The Sword in the Stone to help illustrate “Why School,” it was the “It’s all true” scene from Star Wars: The Force Awakens that served as a lead-in for “Why the Biblical Story.”
Week Three was my opportunity to kind of “pull back the curtain” and explain the reasoning behind some of the things that have been made in chapel under the wisdom of the team that I work with. And so after a student-performed game of “90-Second Alphabet” with connections to the biblical story, I walked students through the why of things like starting with Scripture, having moments of silent prayer, and ending the time with a blessing (this year from 2 Corinthians).
I’m looking forward to a few weeks contributing without doing the heavy-lifting of speaking. I’m grateful for the experience and excited to engage with others as they bring their thoughts and concerns “to the table.” So far, this “temporary vocational stretch” has been a good way to reframe the other work that I do.
(image from independent.co.uk)