Odds & Ends: September 2018
A morning prayer
At the start of a day, who can tell what a day may bring forth? Cause me therefore, gracious God, to live every day as if it were to be my last, for I know not but that it may be such. Cause me to live now as I shall wish I had done when I come to die. O grant that I may not die with any guilt on my conscience, or any known sin unrepented of, but that I may be found in Christ, who is my only Savior and Redeemer.
—Thomas à Kempis
In earthen vessels
The dear Lord’s best interpreters
Are humble human souls;
The gospel of a life like His
Is more than books or scrolls.
From scheme and creed the light goes out,
The saintly fact survives;
The blessed Master none can doubt,
Revealed in holy lives.
— John Greenleaf Whittier, from “The Friend’s Burial”
The beginnings of Sunday School
Englishman Robert Raikes, born in 1735, was a Christian layman who was pained to see unschooled children working six days a week in factories or mines. On Sundays, children roamed the streets, often getting into trouble. Most didn’t know how to read or write and knew nothing about Christ or the church.
As Raikes labored to reform England’s prison system, he noticed that many children were imprisoned, stirring him to action on their behalf. He arranged for halls and homes to be used for educational purposes on Sundays, the one day children didn’t have to work. He found volunteers to teach reading, writing and math, as well as the Bible and Christian beliefs.
The first Sunday school class was held in July 1780. Amazingly, by 1788 some 250,000 children were attending such schools. This occurred despite some people’s opposition to the education of lower-class children.
Countless boys and girls have attended Sunday school classes since then, thanks to Raikes, who brought Christ’s light and love to children around the world.