Thursday, November 10, 2011

Who is Taking Your Test?

Mrs. S, today I can use your help with this new computer assessment we are trying out. It’s been a bit of adjustment for all of us but we are slowly getting used to it. If you don’t mind, just monitor the process and assist the students if they get stuck.

I pull an extra chair next to the computer station and call the first name from the list. One by one, students came, type their login name and password, take the test with varying degrees of success, and are sent back to their desks with customized messages matching their final score:

Congratulations!
Or,

Try again!
Or,

Better luck next time!

I begin to wonder what the fuss is all about when I call Jaeda’s name. She sits in front of the monitor, types her name but instead of the screen of the first page of the test, a different message is being displayed.

CONGRATULATIONS! You have passed this test!
And in smaller font, a little note below,

There is no more testing available for this student at this time.


I try several times, making sure that the name and the password are typed correctly, but each time the computer comes back with the same message.

CONGRATULATIONS! You have passed this test!


Jaeda looks at me confused. She shakes her head, No, when I ask her if she has already taken the test. I call upon Mrs. D., and at first she seems as confused as we are. Then her eyes light up with sudden recognition,

I know exactly why it is doing that! In preparation for your coming I wanted to make sure that the program worked properly so I took the test, and it was in her name! I guess I already passed the test for her! There is no need for her to take it again.


We look at each other and burst into laughter. Jaeda, somewhat dazed, walks back to her desk, having a bit of trouble fully taking in her good fortune.

Nothing like having your teacher taking the test in your name – I wish they did that when I was a student…

In the echo of the laughter about the improbable exchange, I see with surprising clarity another improbable exchange that took place long ago. Today, I soak in afresh its wonder and thank the Teacher again for taking my place, and not just once, but once for all, passing the test for me.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21

Sunday, November 06, 2011

A Glimpse of Eternity in the Daylight Savings Time

It’s my favorite day of the year. The Daylight Savings Time change – backwards. Suddenly, instead of running 35 minutes behind, I am actually 25 minutes ahead! And this is AFTER I've slept in! One morning of the year, everything I ever want to do can fit leisurely in my schedule like a pair of fluffy slippers. The second cup of coffee. Snuggling with George. Sunday comics. Listening in on seemingly casual conversation - Jesus shooting the breeze with a woman by a well (Gospel of John chapter 4). Even the kids suspend their usual squabbles for 47 seconds. And I am actually awake in church.

I savor the glorious elasticity of time, amazed at the effect the arbitrary decision to set our clocks one hour back has on me. Just one extra unhurried hour and I am transformed from a rushed, order-barking general who sees people like uncooperative obstacles in my life’s agenda, into a human BEing, surrounded by other human BEings and magnificent creatures, like our guinea pig George. When the rubber band of time shrinks, I realize, the first thing that goes out of the window is my ability to listen. Without listening, life unravels like a ball of yarn rolling downhill.

Each year, the time warp gives me a unique glimpse into a world beyond the relentless constraints of time. Eternity. A place of rest, quiet… a place of wholeness. Part of me wants to extend this one hour even further before the onslaught of life’s demands devours it with nothing but the memory left. I am reminded that the onslaught will come but I need not be sucked into it. I don’t need to wait to change my clock back once a year to experience eternity. I can live each moment of every day from the vantage point of eternity by leaning into the conversations that reveal more of who God is, so marvelously expressed in the face and the way of His Son. And in the reflection of that mirror, I can discover not only who I am but also who I am meant to be.

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
John 17:3