My daughter is a ninth-grader in a public high school in Austin, TX, and this year’s incoming freshman class weighed in at around eleven-hundred students.
Yes. That is one thousand + one hundred + freshmen. Whatever could go wrong with that many fourteen-year-olds? And yet…
The principal of our school is a righteous man determined to make his corner of God’s kingdom look and feel like Eden, like a place where both the small and great have all they need to flourish, a place where everyone is carefully accounted for, and where all things are well.
Three English teachers (at the very least) arrive at school very early every morning after grading piles of papers late into the night. Each one’s aim is to make his space in God’s kingdom look and feel more like Eden, a place where there is enough for all, where none lack glory, where words build up and nourish real life.
Before the sun rises a coach walks through a quiet corridor into a dark gym. She is God’s image in this part of his kingdom and her work each day is to multiply the generous goodness – the shalom of Eden – to all in her realm.
While the world sleeps, a janitor sweeps up the basketball locker room. As he cleans, he prays, forgiving the sins of others as he has been forgiven. And while he restores order and sets things back to right, his corner of God’s kingdom begins to look and feel increasingly like Eden.
And so every morning I pray with my daughter before she goes to school: You were made by God, dear girl, and you belong to God. Since before the world was formed, the King of heaven and earth knew he would make you in his image – a royal daughter who would share in the rule of his earthly kingdom.
So go out today knowing you are not alone. Not only does the host of heaven have your back, but the King of Creation has many sons and daughters, children ruling with their Father’s kind of righteousness, placed in every corner of his garden.
Children of God, we bear the image of the King everywhere we go. He created us to govern as he would – in righteousness and truth – over every square inch of his kingdom.
Shalom then, to you and yours, as you bring God’s generous shalom to every corner of his earthly garden-kingdom.