Commonplace Book #56

What if my classroom is a cathedral?  If I consciously think about my classroom in this way, I will construct the space, the syllabus, the assignments, and the daily rhythm in such a way that through all the smoke and dirt and barking dogs and fluctuating florescent lights, students encounter Christ in my course and grow in their understanding of what his life and death means for them.  The Nicene Creed confesses that Christ “for us and for our salvation came down and was incarnate and was made man.”  For us.  A cathedral-classroom points away from us toward Christ, but a Christ who became flesh for us.  Christ comes to us in the dirt and flickering light of our own lives, but he also comes to lift us up.

Many students (and teachers) confine worship, the sacred space of the classroom, to an opening prayer or the recitation of a Bible verse or perhaps collective singing.  Such moments can be precious and can turn students’ faces toward God in ways that unconsciously shape what they are learning that day. But the point of progressing through cathedral worship is to be conscious of what we are doing and becoming every moment of the day: to enter at the feet of Christ; to walk with Jesus as he ministers to both rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, the powerful and the outcast; to listen as God speaks to us and to utter our own responses; to be reminded of our sin and God’s salvation; to be sent back into the world as witnesses to God’s creating and redeeming power.  Turning classrooms into cathedrals unites the space of worship with the space of educational formation.

David I. Smith and Susan Felch, Teaching and Christian Imagination, 182.


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