Precious Things

Posted on May 20, 2024 by Published by

I once wrote an article about a school that embraced the Reggio Emilia approach to education. This meant, in practice, a lot of fascinating things, and it was a fun piece to work on. But all these years later, I could not accurately describe the Reggio Emilia style of learning to anyone except to say this: they give the kids glass bowls and china plates.

That’s what stuck with me, and that’s what sticks out in my memory amidst the hundreds of intervening articles and interviews on other equally fascinating topics. I remember those glass bowls and cups lining the shelves, the fine china dishes, the beautiful shiny cutlery the children used for lunch.

This was a pre-school, and these students were three-year-olds. “If they drop a cup and it shatters, then they learn that glass can break. We clean it up,” the teacher said with a shrug. The idea was that a child will never learn to handle a fragile, precious thing — and grow into an adult who can respect and cherish a fragile, precious thing — if they are not sincerely trusted with a precious thing whose fragility they bear personal witness to.

The breaking, you see, was part of the education.

The disciples worshiped, but they doubted. And yet, Christ gave them the Great Commission anyway, something fragile and important, something that could be easily dropped and easily broken. Christ knew who they were, what they were. They were mere human beings, deeply imperfect, scared and hesitant, a little slow on the uptake. He knows that’s exactly what we are, too. But he gives us the Great Commission just as he gave it to them. Because that is what the Faith is: it is something perfectly beautiful, passed from one flawed person to another, throughout the ages — constantly dropped, constantly broken, and constantly, miraculously, pieced back together again.

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” — Matthew 28:19-20

Article contributed by Colleen Jurkiewicz Dorman


Readings for The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity: Lectionary 165

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