So, what is a clicker? I shall explain. I was schooled by nuns – the sisters of Notre Dame.
They wore long sleeved, black, ankle length robes and a black veil with a broad white band across the forehead. They were girded at the waist with a rosary bead belt, big enough for Andre the Giant.
To this day I don’t know how sister Mary Cletus played such excellent kickball in that outfit.
Their favorite disciplinary tool was the clicker. At least that’s what we, the clicked, called it.
It was about 6 inches long – a spindly piece of oak – a short knobby table leg. Attached to it, with a thick rubber band, was another piece of oak – a slender dowel rod. Depress and then quickly release the dowel rod and a loud resonant click is produced.
The clicker was for control. Click: the class lined up; Click: the line moved forward; Click: we stopped; Click: we genuflected; Click: we filed into the pew for mass; Click: we sat down.
Seldom was a word spoken. We were programmed to respond to the click. Which may be why I am confused today by the sound of a click beetle.
It was a versatile tool. When a child failed to heed the clicker, the click became a clunk. A kid would feel its knobby wrath on their head.
It was standard nun equipment. Each school morn, they reported to the armory and were issued their clickers.
It was the time in the mass, to receive communion. I was taught that communion without prerequisite confession was a big no no. But this 10-year-old was absent on the day the class confessed.
What to do? Skip communion and displease my teacher or do communion and anger God. Would it be better to be struck with the clicker or a bolt of lightning?
God was nowhere to be seen, but the nun sat next to me, so I stepped into the aisle with the rest of the class. As we inched forward, I began to sweat, and my folded hands began to shake because – I really was afraid of God.
He had His own clicker. Click: go to church; Click: say your prayers; Click: stop hitting your sister; Click: go to confession before you take communion. Get out of line and expect to get clunked with God’s clicker.
It was only reasonable for a kid to project onto God the character and ways of the religious folk that represented Him.
I trembled as I opened my mouth to receive communion – but – there was no divine retribution. I returned to the pew asking myself why?
Years later I learned that God looks at me with a smile on His face rather than a frown.
I waited for Him to demonstrate His wrath, but Scripture says, “God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
Sure, He has His standards, but He Himself lived them out on my behalf. “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Now He empowers me to live His truth. “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So, the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20.
When I fail, He responds to me with patience, mercy and grace. “For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.” – Hebrews 4:15-16
He motivates me not by threat of hell but by His love for me. “For the love of Christ controls us…” – 2 Corinthians 5:14
Such a radically different but wonderfully accurate picture of God.
If there is a lesson in the story; I guess it’s this: A kid really does project onto God, the character and ways of the religious folk that represent God.
So, how do you represent God to your children or your grandchildren? What of God does your 3rd grade Sunday School class see in you? Are you quick with a clicker – or full of patience, mercy and grace?
– All Scripture references taken from the NET Bible ®