It’s 12noon on Tuesday, and time once again to head off to a school SU Group. Two volunteers and I get the room ready – crafts, games and Bibles – and once the lunch bell rings, children start to arrive. There are about 12 children who come through the doors, and the chat around the table as they eat their lunch is noisy and entertaining. For the next 45 minutes we, like the other 130 volunteers in Edinburgh running lunch time or after school groups, talk about Jesus, the Bible, God’s love and the cross, as well as play games, have fun and laugh...
It is a privilege to open a Bible with these children and show them how to navigate their way around it, so that they too can learn to explore it for themselves. Some have signed up for our weekend at Scoughall in May. Most have never been to church before, or have any understanding of who God is.
This is just one opportunity we have. And there are many more around Edinburgh in our primary and secondary schools. Currently there are 61 SU Groups, with hundreds of children and young people attending week by week – many hearing about the love of Jesus for the first time.
One group leader, who is also a teacher in the school, tells the story of ChildLine coming to their school. The ChildLine employee asked the children, “Who do you tell your troubles to?” One child shouted out, “My parents”, another shouted, “A teacher” and a third shouted “Jesus!” This child attends the SU group in the school! Seeds are being sown.
A couple of weeks ago in another school, we were talking about the crucifixion. We talked about the fact that Jesus, as God, could have summoned angels to come and take him away but because of his great love for us, he didn’t do that, but chose to die on the cross in our place. There was silence and then from two boys came the response – “Wow!” That moment of realisation – brilliant!
We sow seeds, we pray and, week by week, we embrace each moment and each opportunity. The inspiring challenge is to see groups start in the remaining 83 primary, secondary, independent and special schools around Edinburgh. Let’s pray towards this end, for open doors and for more volunteers to catch this vision.