Sunday, 10 March 2013

How to teach according to king David

Today we attended church in Sobantu. (When I google the word "Sobantu" I get “people friendly” and so was the congregation! We felt welcomed!)

Two students from the Lutheran Theological Institute (LTI) led the service and preached. Obviously there wasn’t any Eucharist. Still there were many ministrants. Especially for the Gospel procession.

When the congregation sang the psalm (number 32) and I read the text, it gave me some thoughts. Especially on verses 8-9 (New International Version - NIV)
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
This is a kind of pedagogy I like. The teacher is clearly aware of her or his responsibility. To teach and to instruct. But the way this is done is beautifully expressed:
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
How often haven’t we said this? The importance of seeing one another. And the importance of being seen. Therefore the response from the disciple comes naturally. If somebody is being taught like that you do not have to be controlled like a horse or a mule. Then you go the way by yourself. You walk the way God has shown to be your way. Not somebody else’s way. Important!

In my understanding this also happened when the student introduced the tune for the singing of the psalm. The congregation followed freely. As always with different voices. He just sang the tune once and people followed. (Now I have to add that my wife, who is a soprano, felt that the tune went to high, making it difficult for the sopranos to follow, but I, being a base, enjoyed it). Never the less: the message is clear: You cannot force a person to understand. If somebody copies the leader’s behaviour, without knowing why, there is no purpose of the exercise. And of course:
Teach, counsel, and lead with your loving eye ….
It was good to see two students who really enjoyed preaching and leading the service. And we got clear evidence that the congregation also appreciated it.

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