This morning, I attended the church of one of my coworkers. I am taking my last two courses needed to complete my Educational Specialist degree, and one of them is Education in Culturally Diverse Environments. The first night of class, the professor explained that one of our assignments would be to attend a culturally diverse event. The goal of the assignment is to help each of us develop a little more perspective about the experiences minorities have in our classrooms and our schools. While the assignment certainly did that, it also provided me with much more.
One of my assistant principals is the pastor of a church in Montgomery, and he had previously invited me to visit his church. When the assignment was made, I immediately thought of him and his church. I asked him about it in passing, and his face lit up. He seemed as excited about the possibility of my visiting as I was.
So, this morning, I taught my class at my church, and then I jumped in the van and drove down to Montgomery to visit my coworker’s church. I will end up writing up the experience for the class, and when I do, I will focus on the experience as a whole. Tonight, I am focusing on one particular aspect – the fact that I was blessed with the opportunity to see a coworker, a man that I have known for the past year, in a whole new light. There are several images that I will never forget.
Anderson smiling as he visited with his church members before the service. At school, he has to wear his assistant principal hat. Whether he is dealing with students or with faculty members, he must constantly wear the hat of an administrator. The role of pastor is quite different, and I am glad I got to see him as he reached out to those he shepherds.
Anderson speaking with the children about light and darkness. Since several of the kids either lost power or had it blink off and on during the storms last night, the time was perfect to talk about living a forgiven life as walking in the light versus walking in darkness. My favorite part of this scene was watching Anderson as he hugged each of the children, smiling and laughing the entire time.
Anderson as he preached. Considering the communication skills I had already observed, I wasn’t surprised at all by his eloquence or passion. I was, however, blessed and challenged by it.
Anderson as he stood by a young man. There was a young man who responded to the invitation, coming forward and sitting in a chair as one of the elders of the church stood beside him. Anderson came around, knelt by the young man, and shared with him quietly. There is no way I can accurately describe the look on his face as he stood beside the young man with his arm around his shoulders and his head bowed, but I am glad I witnessed it.
Anderson as he stood with his arms outstretched, praying a benediction over the congregation. ‘Nuff said.
Prior to this morning, I knew that Anderson was a follower of Christ and a pastor, but that knowledge was theoretical. Today, I got to see it being fleshed out. Today, I was able to see a totally different side of a man whose office is just two doors down.
I was blessed by what I saw.