Observations #18

Dr. David R. Denny
From the Schoolhouse

kobler-bomb-drill

The kids and I sat tensely waiting. They chattered quietly pretending they weren’t frightened.  But smoke and chaos had been unleashed when the first notice of the bomb drill came, and now we all sat huddled in anticipation of its possibilities. And then the promised alert  sputtered over an antique intercom system.  “Attention faculty and staff.  This is a bomb drill.  Everyone proceed calmly to the nearest exit.”  The words, ‘proceed calmly’ might has well been Yiddish.  No middle schooler ever proceeded calmly anywhere.  

I flipped off the room lights and pointed my eighth grade kids to the exit down a narrow hall.  They spilled out onto this interstate joining the sixth and seventh graders all jostling for space, shoulder to shoulder, feet kicking heels, stirring up squeals of protest mingled with adrenaline long squashed by mathematics and essay writing and other dreaded school tasks.  

As I bobbed along in this maelstrom of youthful exuberance, head and shoulders above them all, I watched the sea of life wash out doors normally locked and onto open fields behind the school.  Sunlight scorched our eyes.  The fragrance of football grass filled the air as each grade and class lined up on white streaked yardage markers.  Teachers blew whistles and kids stumbled into makeshift lines while names were called to find the missing souls.  

There is something invigorating about bomb days.  If only the world’s terrorists could walk where I did today perhaps they would see things differently.  Bomb days were never meant to be destructive affairs.  Bomb days are rare moments in young lives to jostle down hallways and giggle and feel the friendship of adults who guide them to safety.

From the Pulpit

   Sunday, we followed the exuberant and brash Pompey, only 24 years old, as he forced his way into Rome in the year 80 BC.  He refused to wait for the Triumph to be offered for his spectacular victories in Africa.  So he hitched his chariot to some African elephants and stormed the Tiber bridge.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t get the elephants through the main gate leading into the city.  Such an embarrassment!  

     Compare this triumphal entry to that of Jesus who rode a humble donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.   The Gospels tell us that “no one knew his name” (Matt. 21:1-11).  Such a contrast between Pompey’s triumphal entry.  Everybody knew the general’s name and his reputation for slaughter and mayhem in Africa.  

   I prefer the Savior’s humble entry.  (But that’s just me).

From the Pew

    I was the last one out Sunday!  

    I stood with my untested key at the door and glanced once last time across the silent pews.  Gone was the happy chatter, the buoyant greetings and rediscoveries that make Sundays in the pews so refreshing and compelling.  The silence was sad for me.  There was no singing organ with its pipes in full throat leading the congregation in Amazing Grace.  The Lord’s Prayer wasn’t whispering its sacred truths.  The offering plates weren’t beckoning for support.  The prayer requests hid in the darkness.  

     I sighed and slipped the key into the lock.  It fit.  It turned.  It locked.  

     I left.  

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