Vol. 2 Issue 12 | March 25, 2016

Vol. 2 Issue 12 | March 25, 2016

Three Things This Week

1. Brussels Attacks

What it is: At least 31 people were killed and 270 injured in an ISIS-claimed terrorist attack at Brussels International Airport and a city metro station.

Why it's important: Your students are observing, listening to, and being formed by your response to this tragedy. As politicians call for torture, may we have the imagination to break the cycle of death by resisting evil and hatred without resorting to evil and hatred. Here’s an informative piece to share with your students about how radicalization happens. Talk honestly with your students about the difficulty of Jesus’ command to “love your enemies” while still actively confronting their violence.

2. #FamilyFirst

What it is: Chicago White Sox slugger Adam LaRoche decided to walk away from a $13 million contract and retire from baseball when White Sox management asked him to limit the time Adam’s 14-year-old son spent with the team.

Why it's good: Wow! Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. LaRoche went on to say, “Of one thing I am certain: we will regret NOT spending enough time with our kids, not the other way around.” Our questions for you are: How is your work/life balance? Does your family feel like they're first in your life? As we seek to serve the next generation, being honest with ourselves about these questions is extremely important.

3. VR Porn

What it is: One of the largest Internet porn sites (60 million daily users) just launched a new section devoted to virtual reality pornography.

Why it's important: The site’s owner said, “Now, our users are not only able to view our content, but be protagonists in the experience and interact with their favorite porn stars,” and thereby revolutionizing the addictive, damaging impact of porn on our children. This should make us even more determined to protect the next generation from the devastating effects of pornography. Talk with your students (male and female) about how porn leads to lifelong neuroplastic changes to the brain and negatively impacts future sex in marriage. Here’s a great resource to protect you and your family from the dehumanizing impact of pornography.

Holy Week

On Sunday, churches everywhere will be overflowing with worshipers. Easter is the high point of the Christian year, a day of celebration and feasting for Jesus’ victory over death.

Yet there can be no resurrection without Good Friday. There is no new life in Christ without first the death of Jesus. To rush past Golgotha en route to Easter Sunday is like opening a gift without the heart to appreciate it (“cheap grace,” as Bonhoeffer called it). We can’t truly celebrate the end of anything without first starting at the beginning.

So as ugly as the cross is, we must start the journey to Easter in its shadow because that’s where our faith begins. The cross is the center of all theology. God is never more powerful than He is in this hour of humiliation. God is never more divine than He is in this moment of complete humanity. The cross is the length to which God will go to save us from ourselves.

That’s why we love the Christian calendar, especially during Holy Week, because it provides a sort of pilgrimage, encouraging us to live into the passion of Jesus by joining Him as He sets His face like a flint toward Jerusalem.

This year, take this journey with your students. Remember, what students ultimately come to believe is shaped more by daily practices (liturgies) and less by mere information, making spiritual formation a holistic experience that isn’t simply about what students know, but about what they come to love and believe through actions and habits.

Here are five formative practices to experience this weekend with your students that will capture their imaginations, shape their desires, and encourage them to participate in the fullness of the Easter narrative:

    1. Maundy Thursday: A service commemorating the Last Supper of Christ through a foot-washing ceremony.
    1. Prayer Vigil: Remembering Jesus’ command to His disciples to “watch with Me for one hour,” spend time late Thursday night in prayer with your teen.
    1. Good Friday: This solemn worship service prepares our hearts for Easter by remembering Jesus’ torture and crucifixion.
    1. The Stations of the Cross: Many churches re-live the major events of Jesus’ death by walking through a live reenactment of the 14 scenes in the crucifixion story.
  1. Scripture Readings: Bring your family together to read aloud these lectionary scriptures and meditate on Christ’s passion: Thursday's reading, Friday's reading, Saturday's reading, Sunday's reading.