Some of my favorite experiences of church life (aside from Holy Week liturgies) have been times when I’ve taught people preparing for confirmation or reception. This year I had the privilege to prepare someone for baptism; so for the past few months I’d been meeting with her to help her in this. I hesitate to say “teach her” for a few reasons:
- People often say that in the sense of filling someone’s head with information. There was information shared by me but only as a complement to the main task of providing resources and helping her do her own learning.
- She actually was a very eager student who took initiative to learn from other sources and bring back questions about it.
- I saw myself as more of a guide and companion on her way, helping to draw out (e-ducere, educate) the process of learning and find the path.
The real teacher, I believe, here and in the Christian life in general, is the Holy Spirit. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. [John 14:26]. . . When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. [John 13:16]” Maybe the best thing to do when it comes to educating people in the Christian life is to help draw out their curiosity and wonder and prepare the space in the upper room for the Holy Spirit to fill it and form them into bearers of Christ in the world.
[Pictures come via St. Thomas’ Parish, Washington, DC on Pentecost, June 4, 2017]