Last week I was asked to speak at the 30+1 Anniversary Assembly at Covenant Christian School in Canberra. (It was the ‘30+1’ Celebration because their 30th was cancelled last year because of COVID.) They asked me to speak because I had been the speaker at the opening in 1991 (when it was called ‘Covenant College).
It was good to catch up with Tracey Foster, our former primary teacher, who spoke about the ‘Firm Foundation’ of Christian education, and also with a whole lot of other people who have strong connections with Shire Christian School. The Principal, Martin Keast, and the Business Manager, Tim James, spoke of how appreciative they were of the help and support given by Shire Christian School during some difficult times they had faced during the three decades of operation.
As Pat and I viewed their facilities, and interacted with various aspects of their ethos - the joy expressed in the students’ singing and general enthusiasm, the commitment of the staff, the support and involvement of the parents etc, etc. - I felt a very deep sense of gratitude to our faithful Sovereign God for the place Christian education has in the work of his Kingdom. I thought about how nervous Pat and I were when we decided to enrol two of our infant children in a class of 10 (soon to become 16) students in Sutherland Shire Christian School in 1977. Neither of us had had any experience of, or connection with, Christian schooling, so it was a big ‘step of faith’ for us as young parents feeling the weight of our responsibility to bring up our children in the ‘nurture and admonition of the Lord’.
Just having a close look at how faithful God has been at Covenant, and the fruit that is continuing to be borne after 30+1 years, led me to reminisce on our own experience at Shire. I used Psalm 100 as the basis of my talk, and I felt like I really wanted to “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth”, and to “Worship the LORD with gladness; [and] come before him with joyful songs”! I noted that the ESV inserts no less than five ‘!’s in the five short verses of this wonderful psalm, and that these punctuation marks are there to encourage us to let our emotions go when we sing it! I also noted that there had been 11,217 days from 11 February 1991 to 28 October 2022, and that God had been faithful and loving in his care for every single one of those days - even, and especially, in the more difficult and challenging ones along the way!
As I write this I note that Shire Christian School has been operating for 16,325 days, and this same God has shown his same covenant love (ches-ed) and faithfulness, without fail, for every one of them! Why don’t we all just take a short moment to “shout for joy to the LORD”, and to “worship the LORD with gladness; [and] come before him with joyful songs”! Praise the Lord!!
Rev Bruce Christian
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