Drawing Close to Jesus
March 12, 2021 | Nathan Johnson
The Rivers Class continues their Lenten journey …
Just as Advent is a time of waiting and preparation for Christmas, rich with its own traditions, Lent is a time of waiting and preparation for Easter, rich with its own traditions.
It is 40 days long (not counting Sundays) between Ash Wednesday and Holy Week, reflecting the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness before starting his ministry.
The holy stories often use the number 40 – 40 years that God’s people spent in the wilderness after being delivered from slavery, waiting to find the promised land, 40 days that Noah spent on the Ark, waiting for the rain to stop, just to name a few.
And so the number forty represents a time of waiting, but also of reflection and of transformation. From preschool through the 8th grade, Mustard Seed Students take these 40 days to follow the life of Christ — From the cradle (or manger) to the grave, and beyond…
To the glorious miracle of Easter!
As we listen and learn about the life of Jesus, we learn so much about his ministry; who he met, who he healed, the stories he told, who he drew close to.
At the end of each story, we pray,
teach me how
to follow you.”
And then the children are invited to draw the story. Quiet music comes on, the children take out their oil pastels and silently start to draw…
The voices of our school’s oldest children sing softly as the youngest draw. They have only been doing this challenge for a few days now, and it still feels very new, but already the images we are seeing are powerful.
When drawing time is over, the children share their drawings.
“This is Jesus being close”
“Here are the waves. Here is the storm.”
“This is Jesus and a little boy.”
The children hold the stories in their drawings.
It is beautiful to hear the life of Jesus through their words.
This drawing time is a form of prayer.
The children may revisit their drawings during Activity Time if they have more to draw…
And we may revisit our drawings, our music, and our prayer in our closing meeting…
And so we continually draw close to Jesus throughout the day, following him as we asked to do in our prayer ,
teach me how
to follow you.”
And just like it says in the song Dr. Smith is teaching us…
I will follow Jesus.
Anywhere He leads me I will follow.
Follow Jesus, I will follow Jesus
Everywhere he leads, I’ll go.
Sing along with Dr. Smith below!
Early Childhood & Lower School Visual Art Teacher
Nathan Johnson graduated in 2004 from Lenoir-Rhyne University with a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts (focusing on Illustration, Art History, and Puppetry), Theatre, and Elementary Education, followed by further time in Europe studying Art, and in Nova Scotia working with adults with developmental differences.
Happily back at his Alma mater (MSS class of 1995) Nathan has passionately committed his career to preserving the dignity and wonder of childhood. As children are more and more burdened with technology and privilege, he believes that in order for children to learn and grow, they must be given freedom within structure, choices with guidance, allowed to play, struggle, get dirty, and above all, to be taught that they are a beloved child of God.
When not in the classroom, Nathan can be found kayaking, camping, hosting a game night, wandering around New York City, making friends with strangers, and spending time with his 11 nieces and nephews.