In a couple of weeks, the readings for Palm Sunday will show how fast the mood of the community can change. Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey and he is hailed by crowds waving palm branches; just days later, he’s put to death, with a crowd that jeers Him rather than cheers Him.

Perhaps you’ve experienced the same type of “change” in your school. Things seem to be going along wonderfully, and then just a few days later, everything positive you’ve done seems to crumble away.

There was a recent “Internet story” that told of a volunteer at a hospital who knew of a little girl who was suffering from a rare blood disease, and the only cure was a transfusion from her 5 year-old brother, who miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctors explained the situation to the little brother, who was then asked if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. The little boy took a deep breath and said, “Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in the bed next to his sister and smiled as the color returned to her face. Then his face began to grow pale, and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked, “Will I start to die right away?” The little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give all of his blood to save her.

Today, we fear what is to come next. Are parents going to keep their children in our school next year? Is this the last year we’ll be open? How will we deal with a major maintenance issue? Are we prepared for emergencies? If we’re fearful, even when Jesus told us to “Be not afraid,” then how are we going to demonstrate courage to the families in our schools? How do we demonstrate visionary leadership to School Boards and Pastors? Are we willing to do what we know is best for the school, even if we know there will be struggle and hardship for us?

Fortitude is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  It implies not only courage, but endurance.  Jesus had the courage to carry out the Father’s will – no matter what the consequences were – and had to endure excruciating pain, ridicule, and complete rejection and abandonment. Before we make the excuse that He is the Son of God, remember that He prayed – three times – that if there was any way that He didn’t have to die on the cross, then God the Father could make that come to pass. But Jesus’ human life was offered as a sacrifice so that we may have life, and learn from His example to sacrifice for the sake of those whom we serve.

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2008-2023 (Original Publication Date: 20080317)