By Rev. Canon Val Kenyon
When my sons were much younger, they used to love the children’s program The Magic School Bus.
The Magic School Bus is an animated children's television series, based on the book series of the same name by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen. The central character of the series, Miss Frizzle, is the teacher who leads the children into a series of adventures and discoveries in the worlds within and around them. Miss Frizzle could always be counted on to encourage the children with, “Take Chances, Make Mistakes, Get Messy”.
In this kind of an environment, we watch as the children on the Magic School Bus, grow increasingly more comfortable taking the risks that come along with trying something new or exploring a new idea. In knowing that Miss Frizzle fully expects things to be less than perfect, any mistakes or mess that follow, are just part of what it is to be learning and growing.
In the month of February, we find ourselves at the heart of the season of Epiphany, a season which features the actions of learned ones from far away who dared to take a risk and to follow a star without really knowing exactly where it would take them; all they knew was that a sign of some kind had burst into their lives, inviting them, challenging them, demanding their attention. In this season of Epiphany, we too are challenged to lift our gaze and to search for Christ’s light and to consider where it may be leading us, and how we might best follow, even if the details of our travels are less than precise, and even if mistakes and mess are a distinct possibility.
It is always the goal of EfM groups to provide spaces where participants can risk delving into their questions, trying out some new thoughts or ideas, and to do all of this in a place that is safe, accepting, and non-judgmental.
We risk allowing God’s light to shine on different ideas so that as a group we can strive to work through what is on our minds and our hearts with the help of others. I once heard this referred to as EfM groups being described as “safe places – brave places.”
Can this process feel messy, uncomfortable, untested, unfamiliar?
Of course, but we risk anyway and dare to be brave, wondering out loud in a group of others often wondering right along with us. Together, like those many adventures on that Magic School Bus, we dare to dive under the surface of our questions to lean into opportunities to discover the meaningful and transformative elements of our ever-evolving faith as disciples of Jesus. As we are drawn to respond to those lights of fresh inquiry that burst into our lives with more and more frequency as we open ourselves to them, let’s ask for grace to be brave so that we might allow God’s Spirit to work in and through us in new and innovative ways.
To hear more about Education for Ministry within the Diocese of Huron, and how you can be involved, please just reach out to Libi Clifford, the Diocese of Huron EfM Coordinator or myself Val Kenyon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Dr. Canon Val Kenyon is EFM Animator in Huron.