In my reading I came across the quote ‘with each person who comes into the world there is something new that has never existed before, something totally new and unique… it is this unique and exceptional quality that each person is called to develop.’ From a Christian perspective, this unique and exceptional quality is that we are all, equally, children of God. This is our time and core identity.
In the Gospel, John the Baptist recognizes Jesus’ unique and core identity, he refers to him as ‘the Lamb of God.’ We must fully understand the significance of The Lamb to understand the history of salvation. The book of Exodus, chapter 12 is an account of the Passover. Moses instructs each family to choose a male year old lamb and prepare it to be shared for supper on the eve of the Exodus. Also, and significantly, to sprinkle the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes so that the Angel may Pass-Over their homes and thus experience being saved by the blood of the lamb. John the Baptist, by referring to Jesus of Nazareth as the Lamb of God, institutes the New Testament. The Old is being replaced by the New. Just as Jesus meeting Simon calls him by a new name, Peter/Cephas, setting him apart for a special role in bringing about the Kingdom. John the Baptist, by naming Jesus as the Lamb of God gives Jesus permission to become the very thing that he is named. Jesus, by calling Simon, Cephas, gives him the authority to become an apostle, the first among equals.
Their unique and exceptional quality is drawn from there by the act of naming them. The word education comes from the Latin word ‘ e-duco’ which means ‘to draw forth’ or to ‘lead out’. So the real educators in our world are those who facilitate others to identify their uniqueness and giftedness and help them to grow into who they are called to be.
I am sure everyone here has someone. A teacher, a role model, someone who saw your potential and called it forth, named it and then allowed it to grow. Not only intellectually but also emotionally and spiritually.
My life turned around by one phrase that was said to me in the summer of 1977. I was 17, finished school and deciding if I would go to the seminary or not. I went on a weekend visit to a missionary seminary, having visited a different one earlier in the year. At the end of the weekend, out for a walk with the vocations director, he asked me straight out if I was going to apply, I said I was not sure; He then said a phrase that made the difference; ‘I think you have what it takes.’ He gave me the confidence; he drew forth from me the courage to apply. When I could not see or realise my own potential, he could. He literally empowered me. This is what John the Baptist did for Jesus. He prepared the way for him. This is what Jesus did for the Apostles and they in turn, for the new disciples. Us included.
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