05 May, 2012

Me and a skeleton

I mentioned back here that I was feeling nervous about speaking to the Grades 3 to 5s in chapel on Thursday. I had quite a bit of fun doing it, though, despite my nerves. I had no trouble holding their attention. Probably not because I'm an amazing speaker, but because they're a pretty good bunch PLUS I had a captivating guest who shared the stage with me.

My topic was "God designed each us with a special purpose." I started by getting the Grade 3 boys (of which one was my son) to move from one side of the stage to the other by various means. Only one was allowed the walk, the others used various means, like hopping, walking backwards, commando crawling etc. We agreed, in the end that walking was the best, easiest way to get around. Then I introduced my guest.

Emily, the school skeleton. I have the benefit of having the Science Department head as my husband and happened to know about Emily's presence at the school. I also studied anatomy for a year at uni, so I'm somewhat familiar with skeletons. (I slept with Hector under my bed for at least a year!) It was funny when the teacher doing the sound and lights for chapel gave me the mike beforehand. He found me with Emily and felt a bit spooked about touching a real skeleton! The kids were equally amazed. They were sooo silent. I guessed they probably weren't staring at me.

I pointed out to them that Emily's long thigh bone had an entirely different purpose to the small wrist bone, and the thick, flat skull bone. It is pretty obvious when you look at a skeleton like that!

I then went on to talk about how people are like bones, in that God has given us all different abilities and skills. And that it is pointless envying others. It is also wrong, even, to think ourselves better than someone else because we can do one thing, like soccer, better than they can. 

This is an old theme. One that Paul spends quite a bit of time on in 1 Corinthians 12. I read to them from the Message (see below*). One mother who was there was quite impressed at the "monster" reference. It is quite appropriate for this age group!

This theme is appropriate for any age group, though. I caught two mums in a conversation recently, one praising the other about how clever she is. I quickly pointed out that they both have special abilities. And, of course they agreed, but isn't it easy to get off on the comparison wagon? Comparing ourselves negatively to others seems to be a particularly easy trap to fall into. 

I've written about it before here, in terms of finding our Sweet Spot. And the Women's Retreat I went to last week also talked about it, in terms of finding your spiritual gifts. It is an important topic. Not that we should keep navel gazing, wondering who we are all the time, but rather that we should keep our eyes on Jesus and asking him how he wants us to serve him, rather than looking at others and asking Jesus to help us be like them. 

*A body isn't just a single part blown up into something huge. It's all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, "I'm not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don't belong to this body," would that make it so? If Ear said, "I'm not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don't deserve a place on the head," would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it. 
 19-24But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn't be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, "Get lost; I don't need you"? Or, Head telling Foot, "You're fired; your job has been phased out"? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the "lower" the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it's a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn't you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?

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