Editor’s note: World Teachers’ Day has been celebrated internationally on 5 October each year since 1994, commemorating the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers, which establishes standards for teacher rights and responsibilities, as well as teacher preparation and support. This year’s theme, “Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Reimaging the Future,” acknowledges the additional challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic for teachers worldwide and seeks to remind us that we must support teachers, protect the right to education, and celebrate the accomplishments of teachers in responding to this current crisis and building the resilience needed to shape the future of education in our world.
A reading from the Psalms, chapter 86, verse 11: “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.”
And a reading from the Letter to the Colossians, chapter 3 verses 16 to 17: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Wise Teacher, you call us to learn to live in right relationship with one another. Political tensions deepen in places like Kyrgyzstan, where the contested and potentially corrupted results of a recent election have led to violence and unrest, and the United States, where similar violence and unrest have followed in the wake of disordered and inconsistent pandemic responses and racial inequalities.
Teach us to guard our hearts, to use our political and social power on behalf of the powerless and vulnerable, and to treat each other as the beloved children of God that they are.
Just Teacher, you call us to learn to live in right relationship with your creation. Storm Alex has proven deadly in the face of heavy rains and flash floods in south-eastern France and north-western Italy, yet so many of us refuse to acknowledge the ways our behavior affects the climate of this world we call home. The Pacific waters along the shore of Kamchatka, Russia, are so polluted that the water is discolored and dead sea life washes onto shore every day, but so many of us fail to connect our well-being and our very survival with good stewardship of the environment.
Teach us to tend your garden in the way you intend for us, with selflessness, love, and deep gratitude.
Loving Teacher, you call us to learn to live in right relationship with you. Open our eyes to see you in the faces of those who suffer, including mentally-ill children in Nigeria who are being discovered after years of abuse and neglect by their parents, the hundreds of Myanmar children who have been driven into illegal work in the seafood industry after the closure of migrant learning centers in the southern province of Ranong, and the impoverished millions who face starvation as the human-made famine in Yemen enters its fifth year.
Teach us to number our days, to understand who we are to whom we belong, so that we might apply our hearts, hands, and voices with wisdom.
Patient Teacher, you call us to learn, to teach, and to grow in our faith in you and in our love for others. Teach us respect and honor you, fill our hearts with the word of Christ, form us so that whatever we do, in word or deed, we might do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.