In my home state, today is Parent's Day - i.e. the first day of school. Summer is over (though the heat remains), football & other high holy days are nearing, it is a time of transition.
One of the ritual of this time of year is a "back-to-school" event for parents. We went to one this past Saturday - 3 hours learning about where our daughter will be going to high school. I was moved by the mission statement of her new school:
cultivate learning communities in which each and every student, parent, and staff member realizes their profound beauty, falls in love with learning, and lives with courage and authenticity
Powerful words, clearly honed over conversations & experience. This mission statement can be counter-cultural in a world of standardized tests & fast tracks to top tier colleges.
For me, this mission statement is part of what I yearn for in the faithing of our lives. Rather than weekly Bible studies or curricula that far too often ape the education trends of times long past, I wonder what faith communities would look like if we focused on helping one another realize our profound beauty, help one another fall in love with learning and live with courage & authenticity.
It might not be neat & tidy, certainly would not fit in a weekly 1 hours slot, probably would not focus so much on the "sage on the stage" - but the faithing of our lives, whether we are 6 years old, 46 or 86, the faithing of our lives is about cultivation, much more than it is about planting or harvesting.
Over that past few days, I've chewed on this mission statement & my yearning for faithing our collective lives - my soul has come back to a prayer by Oscar Romero that I have found particularly nourishing:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
FYI - A number of folks are blogging about the spiritual formation of children and youth this through this week - for info, see Brian McLaren's blog.