I remember asking my father what some of the funny symbols were in his books we found in his grocery store. My parents bought, and still run, a grocery store and livestock feed business in a tiny village in South Dakota. Many of my childhood memories are of Larson’s Feed & Grocery. On that day my brothers and I were in early primary school, we found Dad’s algebra and geometry textbooks from his teaching days. I vividly remember sitting at his desk to be taught algebra before we had even learned multiplication at school. He has patience by the bucket load and took time to help us learn.
To this day, I have a soft spot for geometry, because of the experience of my daddy teaching me its beauty even when it was hard. I will admit I did pursue other academic loves as I grew up, but the love of learning started at Daddy’s desk.
I know for some people learning has harsh and difficult memories of struggling at school or being punished for failing to achieve certain standards. But school isn’t the only place of learning. From the moment of our birth, for as long in our life as we continue the practice, we are learning new skills, new abilities, new thoughts, new challenges.
One of the aspects of my life now as a minister is to help people learn about God and God’s love for them and the whole world. And the best part is that I’m continuing to learn along with people of all ages, as God is seen all around us in creation, in each other, and in our relationship with God.
When Jesus was alive, he shared many stories and experiences with the people who followed him. One day after Jesus had been praying himself, some of his followers asked him ‘Lord Teach us to Pray.’ (Luke 11:1) And Jesus shared with them a prayer that we still use today and maybe you memorised too. In the weeks leading up to our Easter celebrations (and maybe after too), some of us in the local churches are looking at the words Jesus taught his disciples on prayer that we call the Lord’s Prayer.
I love learning new things about Jesus, God, the Bible and God’s love for the whole world every day. I love learning by asking questions and growing in my relationship with God. I find prayer a helpful tool as I try to understand life. Prayer is my wee blether with God. Prayer is my studying life at God’s desk struggling to learn new things. Prayer is time with God who loves us as beloved children.
Whether or not you believe what I believe, I hope you are learning every day, you are challenging yourself to grow in not just your favourite things but also something new. I hope in this season of planting and blossoming you will experience wonder and awe in the beauty of creation.
Happy Easter & Blessings, Ellen