“For we are God’s creation, founded in Christ upon good works which God preordained, so that we might walk in them.”
The biggest question that middle and high school students face is finding out where they fit in. The pull to find one’s identity drives students to seek out community in a number of communities before they can finally settle and be comfortable in their own skin. The amazing part of it all is that students, in finding their identity, typically aren’t comfortable with themselves until their peer group can define it for them.
So each group vies for popularity and relevance within the school. Cliques justify why they are the real “good” people over and above other cliques. Peer pressure, that is the pressure to find one’s identity in a clique, is what drives students to bad decisions, gossip, dissension, and even violence. We accept this as “the way things are” because this isn’t an isolated force. This is a force that dominates our society as a whole.
But Paul’s voice breaks in to our broken family and tells us that it is not to be so with us. God declared before creation that Christ would suffer, die, and be resurrected so that “the two would be formed into one humanity, making peace” (Ephesians 2:15b). Peace is attained in Christ through his work. None of us can claim moral superiority because none of us completed the works that Christ did on our behalf.
So when our students are walking through the halls of their schools, their call is to walk in peace! Christ showed us the way of peace and unity by suffering, dying, and being resurrected by God’s hand. Christ’s work is bigger than the insecurities we harbor. Christ’s work is bigger than the divisions we create. Christ’s work is bigger than racism, prejudice, stereotypes, dissension, and violence.
As our students return to school, please pray for God to strengthen them through his Spirit. Specifically, pray for them to have wisdom as they live out the peace and unity God offers us in Christ. If we harbor any division or prejudice in ourselves, let us ask God for mercy and lay those prejudices at the foot of the Cross!