This past Sunday, the 3s and 4s Sunday school teachers rejoiced to discover it was quarterly review—the weekend without a craft for us to organize or story for us to tell (especially gratifying since last time it was my turn, the lesson was on the Holy Spirit. Centuries of theologians can’t fully comprehend the trinity and I’m supposed to explain it to a preschooler?). Instead, most of the hour consists of a large group review of the songs, stories, and memory verses of the last three months. The teachers just shush and corral the little people, and make sure they remain seated “criss-cross applesauce” (Indian-style) on the floor.
But I enjoyed this quarterly review even more than usual for one reason: Jacob. As the teacher told the story of Jairus’ daughter, her illness and her death and her family’s grief, Jacob smiled and said, “But Jesus.” As she talked about the crowds with nothing to eat but a little bread and fish, Jacob said knowingly to his teacher, “But Jesus.” And as she told the (age-appropriate) version of the crucifixion, Jacob yelled, “But Jesus!”
An article by Paul Thigpen in a 2000 issue of Discipleship Journal explores the mystery of Jesus’ claims to be the First and Last, the Beginning and the End. When Jesus says he is the Alpha and Omega, Thigpen writes, “He’s revealing Himself as the very Framework of history, who stands at its beginning as at its end, encompassing the whole within Himself. When we ask, ‘Where did the human race come from? Where is it going?’ the Scripture replies: ‘It began in Him, and it will end in Him.'”
The old joke is if you don’t know the answer to a question at church, just say “Jesus.” It’s the Sunday school answer, but Jacob reminded me it works for all of life. He may not fully grasp the Holy Spirit, but he knows what many adults never learn: the answer to every protest, to every sadness, to every question and dark circumstance and trouble is always “But Jesus!”