Sycamore Covenant Academy (SCA), an academic and discipleship ministry of our congregation, opened its doors this week to start our seventh year. We are more excited than ever, as we have over fifty students with several of them being from new families (some from surrounding areas such as Peru, Marion and Indianapolis) participating. It has also been encouraging to see the Lord provide great teachers and courses to offer. Plans are underway to offer once again our Hope for Today Tutoring twice a week to underprivileged children in the neighborhood. Watching our own youth sit down with these youngsters and read the Bible to them, pray, and help them grow in their reading skills was last year, and will be again this year, fun to watch.
I am also excited and thankful for the new logo you see (click it to go to the SCA website) that Susan Spiegel designed for us that captures the essence of this ministry. We feature a sword and a shield because our theme statement reads this way:
- Raising Our Children in the Fear of the Lord
- Arming Our Children with the Knowledge of His Word and World
- Sending Them Out to Possess the Gates of Our EnemiesOf course, this may appear to be "too militant" for the squeamish humanism that guides so much of our educational policies in this generation. However, as I will explain, this language is lifted straight from the Bible and is capturing spiritual truth about our children. And any secular humanist who would accuse us of being militant should first consider that we're all involuntarily paying for the schooling of his child - if he has any - with our tax money.
This language comes from Psalm 127 you see referenced on the shield and the covenant truth it conveys. In this psalm our children are described as gifts to us from God Himself, who are to be handled as arrows in the hands of warriors (hence the quiver on the shield). In other words, they are to be prepared to be sent out so that as they represent Christ they "will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate" (Psalm 127:5). Our youth are to be prepared to deal with all the arguments that God's foes raise against the truth of His Word. This promise from Psalm 127:5 is an echo of God's earlier promise to Abraham, who was told after he had offered his child Isaac to the Lord these words: "I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies" (Genesis 22:17). Since in Christ all these promises have become "Yes" for us (II Corinthians 1:20; Galatians 3:7-8, 29), Christians should be raising their children in the hope and anticipation that God will mightily bless them to go into the strongholds of His foes and win them over, with compassion and persuasion, to the ways of the Lord.
This explains then the Latin phrase from the Vulgate version of Psalm 127:4. Sicut Sagittae means "Like Arrows." As we teach, catechize, and train our youth to serve, SCA is just one means in which our church is seeking to join with many others across the land who are desirous of sending their children out like arrows of light in this dark generation. If our secular enemies howl in protest over Christian's influence in civil discourse, government, business or education, it will only mean that we are hitting the target.