School has begun again. We speak of education as “feeding the mind.” Our minds need food to grow up strong and healthy. Jesus uses this comparison in the Sermon on the Mount:
9. What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
10. And if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11. If you then, being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in the heavens give good things to them who seek Him?
12. Therefore all things whatever you wish that that men should do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7)
Children do ask their parents for spiritual bread and fish: they are hungry to live a good life; they crave spiritual and moral virtues to emulate, for seeing examples of honest, daily work, caring for other people. Young children have a visible hunger for spiritual and moral values, like the Golden Rule in verse 12. Older children may learn to hide their idealism, but the hunger is still there, even when we’re adults.
In raising our children, we don’t want to give them only the “stones” of hard facts. We don’t want them to take in “serpents,” that is, arguments that appeal to our base nature.
As our children and grandchildren start back to school, we can help feed their spirits by discussing with them the moral questions that come up in literature and history, and in their social interactions. In science we can point out the wonderful order of the natural world that the Lord created.
May the school year be nourishing for us all, not just in feeding our natural curiosity and promoting worldly success, but also strengthening our love and sight and practice of values that are good and true forever.
Speaking of food, you are welcome to stop by the Autumn Weekends booth on Hawk Mountain Road for some good food and good company on five weekends, beginning September 27, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For spiritual nourishment, you are also welcome to worship at the Kempton New Church, Sundays at 10:00 a.m.
Bon appetite, spiritually speaking!
Rev. Lawson M. Smith