Strategies for Seeing Anew #9

…towards delighting in God’s world

An example from a Primary classroom
An example from a Secondary classroom

What does this mean?

The word ‘Eden’ means delight (Genesis 2:8). The biblical Eden was a garden of delight, and it offers a way of looking at our world: the world was meant to be a garden of delights to be explored. Christians through history have often talked about learning in terms of being in God's garden of delight, and that is part of the history of the word ‘Kindergarten’. It is easy to drift into seeing knowledge only in terms of usefulness and to neglect delighting in it. In the Bible, God tells people to ‘take delight’ in the things he has given them (Deuteronomy 26:11). Delight is akin to joy; it is consciously taking pleasure in someone or something. It involves a raised awareness, taking notice, revelling in something, whether that be the beauty of maths or the pleasure music creates, the joy of giving or the simplicity of a design. The Bible describes God as delighting in his people (Psalm 149:4).
Our only business is to love and delight ourselves in God. Brother Lawrence
Delight does not mean ignoring the darker side of life. It means fully acknowledging the difficulties of life while remaining determined to celebrate what we can and trust the underlying goodness of God.
This world is so full of care and sorrow that it is a gracious debt we owe to one another to discover the bright crystals of delight hidden in sombre circumstances and irksome tasks. Helen Keller
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture… The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry. Bertrand Russell
As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God's language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God's plan. Francis Collins
This section is about moving towards delighting in knowledge and in God’s world. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it moving from a utilitarian approach – only seeing knowledge and the world in terms of usefulness – or is it moving from needing emotional and intellectual ‘permission’ to express delight?

What does this mean in school?

We can organise teaching and learning to bring delight and to show that delight can be a proper response to the world:
  • Allow time to revel in sounds in music and poetry, to enjoy textures and colour in art and time to be enchanted by the structure of crystals, the elegance of DNA and the beauty of numbers.
  • Model taking delight by the language used in class, the ways in which things are spoken about.
  • Make delight a part of the lesson plan when appropriate. Find opportunities to show the beauty and intricacy of things.
Think of a time when you experienced a moment of delight in the classroom, when what was being explored became a joy. Locate a lesson/unit that you think has potential for delight. How could the teaching and learning facilitate this? You might supply images of DNA photography and DNA portraits in a science lesson. You could create a tactile display in art and allow time for touching. You could devise a task that encouraged students to delight in sounds in poetry.
More ways of seeing anew
Next way of seeing anew
1So the heavens and the earth and everything else were created. 2By the seventh day God had finished his work, and so he rested. 3God blessed the seventh day and made it special because on that day he rested from his work. 4That's how God created the heavens and the earth. The Garden of Eden When the Lord God made the heavens and the earth, 5no grass or plants were growing anywhere. God had not yet sent any rain, and there was no one to work the land. 6But streams came up from the ground and watered the earth. 7The Lord God took a handful of soil and made a man. God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing. 8The Lord made a garden in a place called Eden, which was in the east, and he put the man there. 9The Lord God placed all kinds of beautiful trees and fruit trees in the garden. Two other trees were in the middle of the garden. One of the trees gave lifethe other gave the power to know the difference between right and wrong. 10From Eden a river flowed out to water the garden, then it divided into four rivers. 11The first one is the River Pishon that flows through the land of Havilah, 12where pure gold, rare perfumes, and precious stones are found. 13The second is the River Gihon that winds through Ethiopia. 14The River Tigris that flows east of Assyria is the third, and the fourth is the River Euphrates. 15The Lord God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it. 16But the Lord told him, You may eat fruit from any tree in the garden, 17except the one that has the power to let you know the difference between right and wrong. If you eat any fruit from that tree, you will die before the day is over! 18The Lord God said, It isn't good for the man to live alone. I need to make a suitable partner for him. 19So the Lord took some soil and made animals and birds. He brought them to the man to see what names he would give each of them. Then the man named the tame animals and the birds and the wild animals. That's how they got their names. None of these was the right kind of partner for the man. 21So the Lord God made him fall into a deep sleep, and he took out one of the man's ribs. Then after closing the man's side, 22the Lord made a woman out of the rib. The Lord God brought her to the man, 23and the man exclaimed, Here is someone like me! She is part of my body, my own flesh and bones. She came from me, a man. So I will name her Woman! 24That's why a man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman, and the two of them become like one person. 25Although the man and his wife were both naked, they were not ashamed. The first sin
1The Lord is giving you the land, and soon you will conquer it, settle down, 2and plant crops. And when you begin harvesting each of your crops, the very first things you pick must be put in a basket. Take them to the place where the Lord your God chooses to be worshipped, 3and tell the priest, Long ago the Lord our God promised our ancestors that he would give us this land. And today, I thank him for keeping his promise and giving me a share of the land. 4The priest will take the basket and set it in front of the Lord 's altar. 5Then, standing there in front of the place of worship, you must pray: My ancestor was homeless, an Aramean who went to live in Egypt. There were only a few in his family then, but they became great and powerful, a nation of many people. 6The Egyptians were cruel and had no pity on us. They ill-treated our people and forced us into slavery. 7We called out for help to you, the Lord God of our ancestors. You heard our cries; you knew we were in trouble and abused. 8Then you terrified the Egyptians with your mighty miracles and rescued us from Egypt. 9You brought us here and gave us this land rich with milk and honey. 10Now, Lord , I bring to you the best of the crops that you have given me. After you say these things, place the basket in front of the Lord 's altar and bow down to worship him. 11Then you and your family must celebrate by eating a meal at the place of worship to thank the Lord your God for giving you such a good harvest. And remember to invite the Levites and the foreigners who live in your town. Ten per cent of the harvest Moses said to Israel: 12Every year you are to give ten per cent of your harvest to the Lord . But every third year, this ten per cent must be given to the poor who live in your town, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. That way, they will have enough to eat. 13Then you must pray: Our Lord and our God, you have said that ten per cent of my harvest is sacred. I have obeyed your command and given this to the poor, including the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. 14I have not eaten any of this sacred food while I was in mourning; in fact, I never touched it when I was unclean. And none of it has been offered as a sacrifice to the spirits of the dead. I have done everything exactly as you commanded. 15Our Lord , look down from your temple in heaven and bless your people Israel. You promised our ancestors that you would give us this land rich with milk and honey, and you have kept your promise. The Lord is your God, and you are his people Moses said to Israel: 16Today the Lord your God has commanded you to obey these laws and teachings with all your heart and soul. 17In response, you have agreed that the Lord will be your God, that you will obey all his laws and teachings, and that you will listen when he speaks to you. 18Since you have agreed to obey the Lord , he has agreed that you will be his people and that you will belong to him, just as he promised. 19The Lord created all nations, but he will make you more famous than any of them, and you will receive more praise and honour. You will belong only to the Lord your God, just as he promised. Build an altar on Mount Ebal
1Shout praises to the Lord ! Sing him a new song of praise when his loyal people meet. 2People of Israel, rejoice because of your Creator. People of Zion, celebrate because of your King. 3Praise his name by dancing and playing music on harps and tambourines. 4The Lord is pleased with his people, and he gives victory to those who are humble. 5All you faithful people, praise our glorious Lord! Celebrate and worship. 6Praise God with songs on your lips and a sword in your hand. 7Take revenge and punish the nations. 8Put chains of iron on their kings and rulers. 9Punish them as they deserve; this is the privilege of God's faithful people. Shout praises to the Lord ! The Lord is good to his people