This will be my fourth year teaching at BBC, I am looking forward to all the work God will do in my life and the lives of my students as we study His Word together. This semester, I will be teaching a course on spirituality and another, on the book of Acts. I’ve always loved teaching – and learning! It’s a reciprocal process, of course, and what better place to teach and learn the Bible than a Bible College, for in Christ and His Word “all treasures of wisdom are hidden.”
From previous experience, I know that one of the challenges my students will encounter whilst taking the spirituality class is actually how to live out being a Christian in our highly volatile context. The core of spirituality is to love God with all our hearts, minds and souls and to love our neighbours as ourselves.
My students always struggle with this concept. How can you love in such a tough situation? How can you not repay evil with evil? How can you turn the other cheek? Since the recent escalation of the political situation in this part of the world, this question has become even more poignant. How to love, when hatred is all around, how to tolerate when injustice seems to prevail, how to continue to have faith when doubt bites through your being?
I myself was a student at BBC not so long ago and I remember these days very well. I remember being very eager to learn the Word of God. It is all I desired and sought. But at the same time, I had my struggles. I found it especially difficult to live in a Christ-like way when I felt victimised every day, seeing no justice, no freedom and at times no dignity. Nothing was easy; nothing is easy, still.
As I teach this term, I pray that God’s Spirit will deal with our shortcomings and weaknesses, that my students and I will have increasingly open hearts and minds to listen to His voice; that in our small and big decisions He will be the Guide, the Master, the All in all; that people will see our Light, and glorify our heavenly Father. I pray that we will all sit at the feet of Jesus with our anger and sense of injustice and continue to offer forgiveness as much as His grace allows us.
Without Christ’s strength and grace, we cannot be spiritual beings. We will be tempted to be carnal Christians, walking in the flesh. It is only His power that can continually transform us so that we are more like Him every day.
Theological Education is very meagre in the West Bank. Bethlehem Bible College (based in Bethlehem and its two extensions in Gaza and Galilee) uniquely seeks to offer theological education to Palestinians. I thank the Lord for this beacon of light in what can seem like a very dark place. I am humbled that He can use us as His agents, ambassadors, and teachers to make disciples in the very place where He Himself was born, lived and ministered.