They didn't deserve it. They knew it. I knew it. Kindergartners have a good grasp on what is fair and what isn't and as I moved each clip up to the top of the clip chart at the end of the day, they knew that they didn't deserve to all be up there...but they cheered all the more joyfully because of it.
This week each year I attempt to explain the concept of grace to my littles because this week, on October 31st, we celebrate Reformation Day. If you're not familiar with this holiday, you're not alone. I think a lot of people forget Reformation Day or are never taught what it is because it falls in the shadow of Halloween and when stacked up against all the costumes and candy, who can remember this lesser known church holiday? I love dressing up as much as the next person, actually probably way more than the next person, and goodness knows I have a sweet tooth (as seen by the exorbitant amount of sugar I put in the tea I drink each day that most southerners probably wouldn't be able to get down), but as we near this time of year, let's not forget the sweetness of Reformation Day! This is the day we celebrate Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg and thereby claiming the powerful truth of God's grace to take away our sins, not the buying and selling of indulgences. Martin chose to stand firm for God's truth in the face of anger, evil, and ultimately death.
So back to grace...many might think that five and six year olds can't grasp an abstract concept like grace, but I think they understand more than we might think. They understand getting something that they don't deserve or not getting something that they do deserve (like a friend who has done nothing wrong taking a spanking for someone who did do something wrong). And they definitely understand that with all the whispering voices in chapel and people getting up without asking or raising a hand, that they do NOT all deserve to be at the top of the clip chart at the end of the day, but oh how I wish you could see their faces when I rip up the clip chart count for the day and place them all at the top! Those are the faces that glow with the sweet knowledge that they have been shown grace.
Martin Luther said, "I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth." That's just what I am attempting to do by taking the time to celebrate Reformation Day in kindergarten. Plus it's fun! Grace is awesome! And then throw in getting to "nail" the 95 Thesis to the door with a little, plastic hammer, and getting to write with a "quill pen" (really just a ballpoint pen with a brightly colored feather hot glued to it) while listening to Amazing Grace on spotify, and ending the day with everyone (regardless of behavior) at the top of the clip chart! Those littles wish every day was Reformation Day! Well here's the best part...it is! Every day IS reformation day because every day God gifts us with His unbelievable, amazing grace! Let's celebrate it!
*Here are some of my most favorite Martin Luther quotes! What a humble, wise, and oh so courageous man of God!
"I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen."
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right….”
“So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: “I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!”
“I know not the way God leads me, but well do I know my Guide.”
“Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” ― Martin Luther