About two years ago Bethlehem School closed. Our leaders were saying that we are not closing; we are just consolidating with some other Lutheran schools. But members of our congregation knew the truth; we closed our school. The people in our neighborhood knew that we closed our school. One day in April 2009 while walking the halls of our empty school, I began to feel a deep sadness when I realized that the laughter of the school children was gone from our empty school building. I went straight home and wrote the article below and posted it on Facebook.
Will the laughter of children be heard at the Bethlehem School building again?
by Elvis Netterville on Monday, April 6, 2009 at 2:09am
Will the laughter of children be heard in the Bethlehem School building again? This is a question that many people of the Bethlehem congregation are asking themselves. The leaders say that there will be children in our building again. They say that we will reach out to the community and bring them in—but some of the members have serious doubts. These members believe that with the school closing and with our outreach track record there is little chance that the corridors of our school building will ever again echo the laughter and happy voices of our beautiful school children. There is a sadness that is growing in the hearts of many members. Is this really the end of Bethlehem Lutheran School they ask themselves. How could this be happing they wonder. Surely we could have done something to prevent this. What could we have changed that would have made a difference? The answer is we could have allowed God to change our hearths.
But what are we to do now? Well if you ask me and I very aware that nobody has ask me. I say that we need to start with repentance—we need to own up to the fact that we have not walked in the light that God has given each one of us. We can not claim that we did not know better—we must admit that we could have done better. We can cry out to God to create in us “new hearts”. New hearts that are humble and open to the changes that God is calling us to make. We can cry out to God to give “new hearts” that are driven by Kingdom values and Kingdom priorities instead of our cultural priorities and prejudices.
We can ask God to give us the ears, eyes and the heart of Jesus. Ears of Jesus so that we can hear the cries of those who are hurting in our neighborhood. Eyes that see those who are hurting. A compassionate heart that is moved to demonstrate the love of Jesus.
Will the laughter of children be heard in the Bethlehem School building again?
Yes I do believe that the laughter of children will be heard in our building again. I do believe that our neighborhood can be a neighborhood where children can run and play in safety and their grandparents can feel secure in their homes. I believe that Bethlehem can be a fountain of joy, peace and wisdom in this community. Yes I do believe!! Yes I do believe that if we confess our wrong doings and wrong attitudes and if we repent, God, who is always faithful, will keep His word when He promised “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11
Yes I do believe that we can hear laughter of generation after generation of children in our hallways if we confess our sins and repent.
God forgive us for we have done!