This weeks focus for us is on theme of the Ascension but what is it really all about? In essence the time of Easter is coming to an end and Jesus makes it clear to to his disciples that it is over to them to live out the message of the Gospel (which actually means Good News!) Like many of our students they in simple terms were pretty reliant on their teacher to give them a sense of direction and support and it all seemed pretty daunting to go throughout the world “flying solo”.
We need to take up the challenge, as teachers and leaders, to “be the change we wish to see in the world” . Education has a unique ability to achieve this in all we do. All of us deep within believe that we can make a real difference to the lives of the young people we serve. This sense of vocation, calling and responsibility is what motivates and inspires us to go “above and beyond” in what we do each and every day.
Two events over half term brought this into sharp focus for me…
Maya Angelou died at the age of 86, she was an author who genuinely touched and inspired me when studying A level English. I was taught by an amazing English teacher – George Daly who I would credit with leading me to what I do today. The experience of reading “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was one of the events that unlocked my sense of thirst for social justice and equality. In her life she truly captured this wisdom and had a profound impact on the world in which she lived even having experienced real adversity and personal suffering. Watch her recital of “I’m a Rainbow in Somebody’s Cloud” and see that in fact we have an opportunity to bring light and hope to those we meet rather than just letting life pass us by.
I was also really struck by the tragic case of Meriam Ibrahim a 27 year old mother in Sudan who gave birth this week whilst shackled and imprisoned for her faith. She still faces the death penalty for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. You can speak up for her and her need for freedom, which we take for granted every day, by supporting the Amnesty International campaign for her release.
A few questions and challenges for us for the week ahead…
- How can we make a real difference in the world we live in each and every day? Let’s start in the small steps at St. Paul’s – maybe in doing something to help support, encourage or motivate someone we come into contact with. Be the rainbow in somebody’s cloud or the change that you want to see in the world.
- Look to celebrate and appreciate the freedoms that we have and often take for granted – religion, democracy, expression. Tell the students why this matters so much and highlight that it is worth fighting for.
- Have a voice in challenging injustice in the world – sign the Amnesty campaign to free Meriam as a first step.
I believe that if we do any of these things we have done just what Jesus challenges his disciples to do in the Gospel this week. We are spreading the Good News and living out faith, perhaps in doing this we can give the world around us a glimpse of heaven on earth.