For more than a decade, I have spent my Sunday afternoons from January to March with approximately 60 middle school students. Tonight I have the privilege of spending even more time with them as I teach choreography to their choir in preparation for a Spring Break choir tour. I know many who believe working with that age group proves you are crazy (and perhaps I am a little), but I absolutely love my time with them. They are incredibly fun. If you ever want to feel a real sense of accomplishment, teach a too-cool-for-this 7th grade boy to dance. The best part, however, is that while teaching them, they teach me.
I was actually a member of this choir myself oh so many years ago when the group was new. (Yes, that is us in our gargantuan t-shirts miraculously tucked in to those khaki pleated shorts.) Unlike, my fellow choir members of the early 90s, I have had the great opportunity to follow the group over the years (and thankfully through a few fashion changes). It seems that no matter the tour title or songs performed, First Love (as they are called) is the constant theme.
First John 4:19 states, “We love because he first loved us.” What a powerful truth! We experience it all the time. You know when you feel loved, honored, and respected, you love, honor and respect others. With the constant, perfect love, forgiveness, and acceptance by God, we can love others well. Whether we have a glimpse or grasp of God’s love for us, we are motivated. We are compelled. I see it each Spring Break when between concerts, those same 7th and 8th graders organize closets, paint faces, and pick up trash. When asked why they do these things, their answer is “because [God] first loved us.”