The theme of this week in school is “Community” – perhaps somewhat predictable at the start of the school year. We are challenged to think about how we live this out in some way and perhaps some of this can be found in the Gospel reading this week.
- Jesus teaches his followers to look to resolve their “issues” with one another. I would suggest that if we don’t do this when we live as a community then it very quickly falls apart. We need to be big enough to be honest and open, to offer forgiveness and be forgiven.
- In the second half of the Gospel it talks about how “when two or three are gathered” Jesus is amongst us. For me this is at the crux of what it means to be part of a faith community. I don’t look for God in grand, miraculous, Biblical events but in the small day to day interactions in our relationships. I once asked a class of Year 7 students to turn to one another and look the person next to them in the eye and say “I can see God in you!” – try it as it is incredibly difficult, maybe more so for adults.
What else stands out in this theme?
- As humans we like the feeling of belonging and being part of something. You only need to witness the spread of the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to witness this. We all wanted to be called by someone to do it, share it with others and feel the warm glow inside of doing something that could make a difference in some way. I particularly enjoyed the “joy of life” demonstrated by this community of Nuns in Dublin!
So what do I hope and pray for our community at St. Paul’s this year?
- That we all live out the challenge of living alongside one another – quick to love, quick to forgive.
- That we can work hard to ensure that every person is drawn in to what we are as a community, conscious when sometimes people can drift to the periphery.
- And finally… I pray that we take the time to stop even for a moment each day to recognise God walking amongst in the classroom, on the sports field, at break time in the simplest of interactions. It is then that we can truly say we are living out the challenge of being a Christian community each and every day…
- Maybe the Nuns in Ireland from an enclosed order can show us how this can be done to the full in the way they live their lives and vocation with humility, friendship and joyfulness.
I hope you all have a happy, fulfilling and successful year full of vitality, opportunity and faith.