Ben Ellis has been teaching Latin and Bible at Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, since 2008. The beloved teacher is known for the love that he intentionally shows everyone around him.
“He is one of the kindest and intentionally loving people I’ve ever met in my life,” said the school’s headmaster, Nate Morrow. “I think that’s what really characterizes him. He’s always pursuing other people in wanting to get to know them and love them.”
Last year, Ellis was diagnosed with cancer, but even while undergoing extensive chemotherapy treatments he continued to show up for his students and stay involved with the school community.
In early September, Ellis received some hard news about his treatment options. Right after hearing the news, high school principal Parker Altman asked Morrow if they could take the students over to Ellis’ house to worship with him.
“Ben is a man who loves like Jesus loves,” Morrow said. “He loves lavishly, he loves intentionally, and he has taught us all how to love better. Through this fight, worship has been a place of peace for him, it’s been a place he’s found joy – in worshipping and praising in community.”
A video posted to Facebook – since viewed over 20 million times – shows Ellis peering out his window to see over 450 students and faculty joined together in worship.
As the group sang “Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here,” Ellis pressed his head against the window frame and joined in.
The moment was clearly emotional for all involved – sobs could be heard coming from some of the students as they sang – but it was also a moment of peace and comfort.
In a message to the student body Ellis wrote, “I love you. I believe now more than ever that God is good, and that he is with us.”
“It overwhelmed me that God would fill that many students with that much love,” he said later. “In that moment I felt like I was not alone.”
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