“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” - Matthew 5:17-18
Jesus proclaiming that he had come to fulfill the law and not abolish means that we can look to the life of Jesus to see what living a life that fulfills the law looks like. When I look to Jesus, the law that stands out in the life and work of Jesus comes from the prophet Micah – the Lord requires us to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbling with our God”.
The last 3 years have been difficult in schools. I spend my days with middle schoolers. As if middle school isn’t difficult on its own, factor in missing a year of in-person learning, and middle school is a whole new world now. Thankfully, every day when I look around, I find myself surrounded by teachers who are working to fulfill the law; working to do justice, love kindless, and walk humbly with our God. I see teachers who understand that children can’t learn until they know justice. Justice for many of the children means full bellies, clean clothes, and shoes that fit. Love kindness means an adult who greets them by name, listens to their frustrations, and celebrates their successes. Walking humbly means teachers building relationships with students, day by day.
Before Christmas, an angry 6th grader who needed a place to calm down found her way to my classroom several mornings in a row. I had a scarf in my bag I was crocheting, and I pulled it out to work on it one morning while she was with me. After a bit she asked if she could try. I handed it to her, and after a little practice, she asked if she could have her own yarn. I brought her some the next day, and each morning, she came and worked in silence; a fat scarf, then squares for a blanket gathering in the box where her crocheting lives on the bookshelf in my classroom. One day last week, as she left to head to class, I smugly thought I had broken through to this tough girl. That afternoon, she was in a fight and suspended. She is back this week, and back to her crochet. I simply told her I was glad she was back.
Sometimes fulfilling the law looks like a movement, a triumph. Sometimes it looks like a teenager in a grubby sweatshirt, hood pulled tight, concentrating on the yarn and hook in her hand, working to make something she can be proud of. It’s not perfect, but with the perfect example in Christ, we can take small steps in the right direction.