One morning during in-service, our headmaster reminded us of God's work in West Dallas by giving us an update on the school bus situation since our bus was on its last legs and were were in desperate need of a new one. "God is doing mighty work on the school bus front," he began as he told us the story of how God led a family to donate the money for a second, much needed bus. This news gave me a renewed sense of wonder at God's divine and mighty work in the smallest details of our lives. Why would the Creator of the universe, the King and Priest of mankind, care about the West Dallas Community School bus? But he does. He is concerned about every detail of our lives and provides for us in big and small ways--each is equally miraculous.
As I reflected on the significance of the school bus to the everyday life of our school and on God's mighty provision in big and small ways, i was filled with a sense of God's purpose and design for us at West Dallas Community School. The mission of the school is "to provide students with a challenging educational experience designed to help them know, love, and practice that which is true, good and excellent and to prepare them to live purposefully and intelligently in the service of God and man." The mission of the school bus to provide transportation for children to go into the outside world to learn about and see God's Creation and return safely to their homes in West Dallas. In short, the bus is our means by which students go out and experience God's world and the means by which God's blessings go out from our school into the neighborhood and the entire city.
I will never forget the clear vision God gave me of our school while riding the bus (the old, un-airconditioned one) one afternoon in May 2009. As we traversed through the neighborhoods and housing projects bouncing over speed bumps, it was clear that this area was full of darkness and despair. In order to keep this bus-full of hot children occupied and orderly, Mark Rusk, the bus driver called on one class at a time to lead the entire group in a song or recitation. And there were were, traveling through the projects reciting poetry and singing songs in turn. We sang everything from Lift High the Cross to So Long, Farewell from The Sound of Music with some Robert Louis Stevenson poetry and nursery rhymes thrown in as well. The children's voices filled teh bus and carried our the windows and into the neighborhoods. I watched the faces as we passed. In some cases I saw utter bewilderment at this busload of sweetly singing children and in others I saw a ray of hope.
God cares about our school bus because that is one of the literal means by which he is delivering hope to a dark and desperate place and it will allow us to do his work more effectively. I was reminded this morning by one of my fellow teachers of the passage in Ephesians 6 about putting on the full armor of God. I had never really noticed or thought about the fact that the gospel of peace is actually worn on our feet ("having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace"). All of a sudden, I thought about the school bus as our shoes allowing us to walk out and bring the gospel of peace into the housing projects of West Dallas and the city as a whole. I am so humbled by God’s provision and the reminder of his unbelievable generosity to his servants.
I had the pleasure of riding the new school bus today. We listened to The Velveteen Rabbit read by Meryl Streep and a whole assortment of hymns. Here are a few pictures from this afternoon.