With the horrific event happening at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut last week, one of the things that has bothered me the most is that some have said this horrible tragedy has happened because “God is not allowed in the schools anymore.”
To start off with God is the almighty ruler of the universe, so this idea that God needs someone’s permission to be able to go somewhere is ridiculous. I believe when we make statements such as “God is not allowed in the schools anymore” we are showing how small our view of God truly is. Now I understand what many people mean by that statement, which is that class prayers are not offered, students are not taught about creation instead of evolution (I believe in creation), and students are not reading the Bible as a part of their English classes. My question is if these things are not happening does that mean God is not present? In my humble opinion not by a long shot.
I attended a public high school before I went to a Christian university and now seminary. In my years in high school I prayed each day and no one stopped me. Several students and I also led a Bible study/prayer group once a week at the school before school started which usually had around 20-30 people at it. I would bring my Bible to school sometimes or a devotional book so I could read it if I had spare time and no one made me put it away. I would on a regular basis tell people about my faith in Jesus Christ at school and invite friends to events at my church. Did I get made fun of for doing these things sometimes? Sure, but in my mind it was worth it. I chose wise times to do these things so it was not interfering with what the teachers where doing in the classroom and didn’t cause problems with other students education. I understand though that others may have faced more ridicule for doing these things in their school than I did.
I say all of this to say no one has taken God out of the schools. There are Christian students and teachers in public schools across this nation who each day are sharing the love of God with those around them, saying a prayer for their classmates, and sharing the hope they have in Jesus Christ. So do we have class-led prayers? No, but I don’t think we need that for God to move in a powerful way. What do we need then? We need people of faith that are willing to just say, “God I will follow you” and then take those steps of faith.