It was a slightly chilly day in September, back in 1993, when I stood at the flag pole of Neshaminy Junior High school with my friend, Andrew, to pray for our school. It was my first See You at the Pole day, and there were so many emotions flying high in me. My dad and I picked Andrew up early enough for us to go pray for some time, and still have be able to get to class on time. I recall a teacher coming out to join us, but I never had her and never really got to know her. A few people stopped to ask us what we were doing. "We're praying for you," we responded. Throughout the day several people questioned us about our stance by the pole that morning…it was a day to stand up for your faith or die of embarrassment. I remember that year for so many reasons…Biology class when I had to stand up for what I believed, Jason Coleman committing suicide, and Social Studies class-in which we learned about all the major religions, and because I wanted to know more about how to reach other people, I got something like a 115% on the final test because I'd memorized all that info. It was definitely an interesting year, to say the least.
My next three years at Neshaminy High School held many more moments of sharing my faith with teachers and peers…it always started with See You at the Pole. See You at the Pole is always on a Wednesday-the third one in September-on which students all over the country (world?) stand around their school flagpoles and pray. The standard time is about 7am, but if your school starts earlier, you can do it any time. It's a day when teenagers all over are endeavoring to make a statement and to simply pray together. At NHS it always started our Wednesday morning prayer group and our Bible study (every Tuesday after school). We had a prayer group, that was about 30 people when I graduated, that prayed in our cafeteria during breakfast every Wednesday morning. We would pray for each other, our classmates, our teachers, our administrators, our country. No one really led it…we just knew we had to do it. People would randomly join us every now and then, just because we'd become somewhat of a team:)
Fast forward to today. It was See You at the Pole day, and I joined one of our 7th graders and my friend, Andrea, on the grass in front of our school to pray for my co-workers, my students, my administration, and my community (of Hamtramck). At one point, I heard one of my students get out of her car and yell "Ms. Burton!!!!" I chose not to answer, out of reverence for what was happening in that moment. I didn't notice that she came over, and that Andrea asked her if she wanted to join us. I'd started to pray a prayer that was from deep within my heart…and I had no idea that she was standing there. Huh. God is so funny…He didn't let on that she was standing there.
I felt a bit different this morning…like I was bolder when I was 14. How did I become tainted?
This past summer when God clearly showed me a vision of a Bible study happening in my classroom this school year. Hmmm. I knew that I couldn't start one. That would literally be illegal. I knew who in my class would be interested, but I wasn't really sure how this would happen exactly. God even gave me a verse! These past couple of months I've been handing this to the Lord and asking Him to guide this into existence.
This past week, a couple of girls at our school, that go to Real Church, asked to start a Bible study. They asked if they could have it in my classroom on Mondays, after school. Then today they went around to all the classes to tell the school about it. "Live for God" was the title of the flyer they handed out to our kids. About 10 kids in my class signed up, saying that they were interested (including 2 Muslim kids that I'm pretty sure didn't know what they were signing up for :). Most of the other kids I expected to sign up, and 2 of the boys with extreme anger issues also signed up.
Honestly, do you know what happens when you see a vision happening right before your eyes? Do you have any idea what it was like to hold back tears today?
If you happen to think of me on a Monday, ask God to speak in our Bible study, please. There just might be a revival in my school, yet, this year;)