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Viewpoint from Carolyn Cliff 14/10/2016

Dove rightCarolyn Cliff
Reader, Great Yarmouth Minstert

also published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury


As I write this the new school year has started.  Children are settling into new classes and teachers along with teaching assistants (TAs) are learning the names of new faces and getting to know their students.  There are also the trainee teachers and TAs getting to grips with lesson plans, leading what they hope are exciting lessons and being alongside those children who are having difficulties.  These trainees also have their own learning to fit in.  Teachers may specialise in a particular subject but often have to teach across the ever-changing curriculum.  One subject that can cause trepidation is Religious Education and so they may welcome volunteers coming in to support an RE lesson and share specialist knowledge

A small group of us have just started our sixth year doing ‘Open The Book’ assemblies in one school in Great Yarmouth.  We encourage children to dress up with us and be the crowd or take a small part as we dramatize the Bible stories; there is also time for silence and prayer.  We have great fun; the children love taking part and answering questions; and of course we share the Good News of God’s love for everyone

dove leftWhen we sit with others to talk about the Bible, what Jesus and God mean to us we are both learning and teaching; walking in the footsteps of Jesus.  Near the start of Luke we find the 12 year old Jesus has gone missing.  Mary and Joseph have stopped for the night on their way home from Jerusalem and find he is not with the group.  Frantically they look and look.  Seeking and asking until they return to the streets of Jerusalem.  For three days they are in a panic.  What has happened to their boy?  Where can he be?  Eventually they find him in the temple courts.  Doing what?  Sitting at the feet of the teachers and learning and discussing with them what the Bible says about who God is.  Can you imagine their relief mixed with anger at all the hassle and fear he has caused?

Jesus goes home with Mary and Joseph and it is not until he is 30 that he starts out on an amazing journey that changes the world and our lives.  In that time he has learnt about farming and carpentry; he has observed people closely, both rich and poor.  He has wrestled with his calling as ‘Son of God’, as teacher, healer, miracle worker, one who prays, a challenger, and finally to be betrayed, crucified, died and buried.  Yet the tomb was not the end.  Rising on the third day and then ascending into heaven.  Sharing God’s Holy Spirit with us means we can come together to learn and to teach about the love of God; and to share in his mercy and forgiveness

Teachers do an amazing job; and like Jesus they are not always appreciated.  Thank God today for those who share knowledge; and if you have a speciality could you support a school by sharing your knowledge with the next generation?