Jesus is Greater Than Everything3 min read

Two weeks ago a student died. It was completely sudden, unexpected, and sad. I could say a lot about the support, comfort, and Gospel given by all in the days following. Some good happened.

But instead I want to describe a striking scene. The faculty had a reserved section at the funeral and many students gathered in the balcony. As the faculty processed out, there was a delay and we stayed for a few minutes in the front of the church. We stood still, said an extra prayer, used one more Kleenex, and looked around.

My eyes drifted to the balcony and there they were: a sea of students dressed in black and standing so straight, so still, so silent, and so somber. It was a striking scene, a future heavenly choir, now dressed in black and paralyzed in mourning, then to be dressed in dazzling white and dancing in everlasting joy. They were looking down at the procession going out, but in that moment, they were looking at us. They were looking to us. The silent questions traveled down the balcony stairs:

Why did this happen? How can this be? Where do we go from here? Who will we be? What do we do?

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

This is serious.  When did we become the ones with all the answers? When did we become the ones charged with the duty to protect, explain, and take care of them in every situation? When did we become capable of that? This is serious. And we are standing still, stunned, and silent.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).

Looking up a little higher from where my students were standing, I saw a beautiful, bright stained-glass window of Christ looking down toward all of us, both students and staff, His arms out, gently guiding us forward with blessing. Yes, our help comes from the LORD and we can look to Him together.

A week later, I attended our annual band and choir concert. Many of the same students were again dressed in black and again stood together silent and still. But then, as if to answer back to all of it, this present-day choir sang fortissimo from Mendelssohn: “Happy and blest are they who have endured. For though the body dies, the soul shall live forever.”

That’s right, dear little ones. Sing it loud and strong, for you indeed have the strongest strength and the surest assurance in your Savior Jesus.

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

 Jesus >

(What I wrote on my board that first day. “Jesus is greater than …” everything.)

Blog originally posted on March 2, 2016 at wpblogls. Photo courtesy of Lauren Schaidt.

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About the Author

Lauren A. Schaidt teaches Spanish at Lutheran High North in Macomb, Michigan.

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