But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken from her.” Luke 10:41-42 (ESV)
Easter JOY! At our church, the handbell choir joyously greets worshippers as they walk into the sanctuary. As you enter the sanctuary, you see the altar covered in bright white paraments with beautiful Easter lilies placed around it and cross above the altar draped in white as well. Your heart thrills as the trumpets sound the first notes of “Jesus Christ is Risen Today,” and the congregation’s voices swell to join that of the church choir. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
However, as educators, we may find that our Easter joy is quickly overshadowed as we return to school after the break and the demands of the final quarter/semester creep in. There is still so much curriculum to cover. There are students whose needs haven’t been fully meet yet. There are students we have yet to reach personally. There are end-of-the-year benchmark assessments to complete, AP exams to prepare for, and finals to give. Then, there’s all of the events that occur at the end of the school year like awards ceremonies and graduations. We may find ourselves adopting a “Martha” kind of mindset, focused on the tasks at hand instead of on our Savior’s victory over death and the grave.
In a typical school year, that is already enough to accomplish in a short time, but when you throw a pandemic into the mix, and it becomes truly overwhelming. Now, in addition to all of the tasks above, we have to conduct temperature checks, sanitize repeatedly, keep everyone socially distanced, AND make sure we’re all wearing our masks…correctly! In the day-to-day grind, it’s hard to feel the joy!
So, how do we keep that joy alive in the midst of these demands? How do we finish the school year strong while keeping our eyes focused on the cross? By doing just that! By following the model of the greatest teacher of all, Jesus. Jesus had a lot of work do get done in just three years. He had expectations and demands placed on him from all sides. However, Jesus provided us with an example of how to handle the pressure. Repeatedly in the Gospels, we see Jesus going off to a quiet place to pray and reflect on God’s will. Even as he was facing his crucifixion, Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray that God’s will be done yet kept the comforting presence of his beloved disciples nearby.
So, as we move forward in this Easter season, it is my prayer and challenge for you to keep your Easter joy alive by embracing the “Mary” mindset, choosing the “good portion.” Set aside some time each day to be quiet and contemplative with God’s word. Find time on the weekend to get outside and enjoy God’s handiwork in nature. Listen to those Christian songs that fill your heart with joy. Engage in fellowship with other believers whether through Zoom, your small group, or coffee with a friend.
May God bless the remainder of your school year and keep you safe and healthy in His loving arms.
Valerie Fogo, Faith Lutheran Academy, Las Vegas, NV