Written by Mr Tyson Kenny - Deputy Principal
Galatians 1:14-16 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.
This week’s Bible passage can appear difficult to interpret; however, when understood, it offers a number of simple yet important reminders to us all.
In this verse, Paul reminds us that we are called by God and blessed by His gift of grace, even before we take our first breath. We are also reminded that should we fail at first and sometimes focus on the wrong things, it does not mean God’s love is not available to us.
In a school community, this verse offers many important teachings. One of these I was reflecting on only a few weeks ago, was when I was asked by a new family enrolling at the College whether their student needed to identify as a Christian. I believe this question was asked because the family did not have a strong Church background and they were worried this might preclude their student from attending the College.
In this verse by Paul, we are reminded that no matter our background, God’s love is available to each and every one of us. Whether we’re from a strong faith upbringing or not, through the Gospel, we learn that God’s gift of grace is available to us all. In the case of this family, instead of being worried that this student had not been brought up with a Church background, I instead viewed this student’s enrolment at our College as an opportunity for them to now learn of and experience God’s love – something they perhaps had not as yet had the opportunity to encounter before.
The other important learning that students can take away from this verse, which applies not only to this new student enrolling at the College, but every student who attends Faith, is that each person’s relationship with God and personal testimony will be different.
Sure, there will be many students who are very strong in their faith, who will likely share God’s word and love in many settings, both here at school and beyond the College in their local communities. These students might be seen at Faith leading a devotion or prayer in Care Group, or perhaps even singing confidently at Chapel. However, as a school community, which is not only by Faith in name but also action, the College realises that some students may not be as confident in sharing their personal faith, where their spiritual connection to God with experiencing His love and gift of grace may only be in its infancy, or perhaps even still to take root.
For students, perhaps even like the new enrolment from a few weeks ago, the College accepts students and families from all backgrounds.Whether they are strong in their faith or not, the College sees each enrolment as an opportunity for every student to learn of and experience God’s love.The College also accepts that for some this relationship with God will vary from student to student, with some flourishing strongly and others not necessarily growing deeply. In these situations, Paul reminds us that each person’s personal testimony towards God will be different; however, importantly, this will not influence or change the love that God affords each person in this world.
I hope everyone who is part of our College community has the chance to know and experience God’s love and His gift of grace. Let us for the remainder of the term and the year ahead continue to share the Gospel of Christ through our words and deeds towards one another. By doing this, it allows each of us, no matter our spiritual backgrounds, to experience the love, care and support of our Christian community, which is blessed by God each and every day.