I grew up singing “The Wise Man Built Himself Upon a Rock” in Sunday School. At two and three and four years old, I spent Sunday mornings gathered with a handful of other squirrelly preschoolers in a small classroom where faithful Miss Kay guided us in that song (and many others), showing us how to mime the corresponding motions as we belted out the truths of Matthew 7. Those sessions of choral singing were followed by a flannel graph demonstration of Jesus as He taught and ministered to His followers. Then we ended with a simple prayer, thus fortified with sound teaching and encouragement for whatever the coming week may hold for our motley crew of impressionable preschoolers.
Fast forward nearly forty years to today, when my own preschoolers learn about Jesus through flashy animated videos, and rock out to Bible verses set to the tune of popular secular melodies. Contemporary Christians who are witnessing these new-and-improved discipleship methods may chuckle at the simplicity of the Sunday School model I grew up with. I’m not claiming that the “old school” style was any better or worse than the one my kids experience today—the verdict’s still out on that one—but I do know that Sunday School in the 1980s was formative and transformative for me.
Those basic songs provided a firm foundation for my budding spiritual development, a bedrock that is still being built upon today. I was introduced to the fullness of Jesus’ love and truth; my house of faith was established upon Him, and because of this solid foundation, my faith has persevered through the storms of life and is equipped to weather the many storms that I am sure are ahead.
I mentioned in a recent post that I have been learning a lot lately about Christian apologetics and Biblical world view, and seeing how I had gotten a little off track in these areas. I had fallen for secular and spiritual (not Biblical) ideologies that sounded good but were not of the Lord. My growing understanding of true Christian orthodoxy—and the subsequent refinement of my personal beliefs—has been jarring.
It is rarely easy to be confronted with things we’ve gotten wrong. For me, these mental shifts are ongoing and uncomfortable. Throughout all of this, though, my faith has not been shaken. In fact, in discussing this experience with a friend recently, I told her that I was undergoing the opposite of a faith crisis: my faith in Jesus has grown as I’ve clung to Him and who I know (without a doubt) Him to be. I trust that He is bigger than my questions and my mistakes. I may be deconstructing some unBiblical ideas around what it looks and sounds and feels like to be a follower of Jesus, but the Jesus I am following has not changed. He is continuing to serve as a firm foundation upon which I can stand, providing stability as I reconstruct a more solid structure of faith around what is true.
This year spent studying and memorizing Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount was simply the next building block upon the faith foundations taught to me as a preschooler singing about the wise and foolish men and their homes. I love that there is no limit to the grandeur and vastness of a faith-mansion that is built on a solid foundation. Jesus is unchanging, sovereign, and enduring. Obedience to His commands, and faithfulness to His message and His promises, is my solid ground.
Jesus, you are holy and you are good. You are eternally present and eternally trustworthy and eternally beautiful, whole, and true. I thank you for serving as the bedrock for my faith, and for your Word that helps me to know and understand you fully. I thank you for the words you gave in your sermon on the mount two thousand years ago, and how those words were relevant for your original audience but are just as real and true for us today. I echo that first audience’s amazement at your teaching, and offer my gratitude for sharing your truth —THE Truth—with humanity so that we may come to put our hope and trust in you.