Message from the chaplain - 13 May 2016

Sunday 15 May – Pentecost – is a significant day in the life of the Christian community. This day marks 50 days after Easter, when the Holy Spirit was given to the then-small community of Jesus’ disciples, empowering them to do the Lord’s work (Acts 2). Pentecost is therefore sometimes referred to as the day the “church” began. The Greek word for church, ekklesia, means more than the place of worship we attend on Sunday - it is a gathering of people, a community.

We, as St Mary’s School, are a Christian community focused on education. Pentecost is a good time to reflect on what it means for us to be a Christian and Anglican school - a value we hold central to our identity. Much thought has already been given to this topic, evidenced in our statement concerning the Christian Identity and Ethos of St Mary’s, an excerpt from which can be found on our website and on our St Mary’s app. We began our term with Eucharists and services for both girls and staff: an acknowledgement of God as the source of all we have and all we are, and a rededication of ourselves to God.

An important part of our acknowledgement, that we are but custodians of the privileges God has given us, is a consideration of our responsibility to our context. Thus, as has been communicated via the St Mary’s app, all chapel collections this term will go toward our social responsibility education initiatives: specifically, toward Waverley Girls’ High School and the Saturday School High Schools’ programme. Reminders will be given to this effect throughout the term to help us prioritise our responsibility in this regard.

This term, let us consciously take time out each week to rest in God’s presence and to reflect on the nature of God, and our relationship with God and with one another. By doing so, we acknowledge that we are not God, and neither do we worship the seemingly irrepressible god of “more”: more wealth, more achievements, more material belongings, more fame. The Psalmist reminds us that “unless the Lord builds the house, those who built it labour in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil: for he gives sleep to his beloved.” (Psalm 127:1-2)