From the Principal

Reforming and repainting the Christian faith

Saturday 31 October marks a significant day in history. It is the day we commemorate the  Anniversary of the Reformation

Times change. God doesn’t, but times do. We learn and grow, and the world around us shifts, and the Christian faith is alive only when it is listening, morphing, innovating, letting go of whatever has gotten in the way of Jesus and embracing whatever will help us be more and more the people God wants us to be. There are endless examples of this ongoing process, so I’ll describe just one.

Just over 500 years ago, a man named Martin Luther raised a whole series of questions about the painting the church was presenting to the world. He insisted that God’s grace could not be purchased with money or good deeds. He wanted everyone to have their own copy of the Bible in a language they could read. He argued that everyone had a divine calling on their lives to serve God, not just priests who had jobs in churches. This concept was revolutionary for the world at that time. He was articulating earth-shattering ideas for his listeners. And they heard him. And something big, something historic, happened. Things changed. Thousands of people connected with God in ways they hadn’t before.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Luther was taking his place in a long line of people who never stopped rethinking and repainting the faith. Shedding unnecessary layers and at the same time rediscovering essentials that had been lost. Luther’s work was part of what came to be called the Reformation. Because of this movement, the churches he was speaking against went through their own process of rethinking and repainting, making significant changes as a result. And this process hasn’t stopped. It can’t. In fact, Luther’s contemporaries used a very specific word for this endless, absolutely necessary process of change and growth. They didn’t use the word reformed; they used the word reforming. This distinction is crucial. They knew that they and others hadn’t gotten it perfect forever. They knew that the things they said and did and wrote and decided would need to be revisited. Rethought. Reworked.

I’m part of this tradition. I’m part of this global, historic stream of people who believe that God has not left us alone but has been involved in human history from the beginning. People who believe that in Jesus, God came among us in a unique and powerful way, showing us a new kind of life. Giving each of us a new vision for our life together, for the world we live in. And as a part of this tradition, I embrace the need to keep painting, to keep reforming.

Bell, Rob (2012-08-02). Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith – HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.

1 John 4:10 New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

10 Here is what love is. It is not that we loved God. It is that he loved us and sent his Son to give his life to pay for our sins.

Grace

One of the core tenets of our Luther faith is the gift of Grace. In Lutheran theology, justification is God’s act of removing the guilt and penalty of sin while at the same time declaring a sinner righteous through Christ’s atoning sacrifice. We often say; justified by Grace through Faith.

I grew up at a time when the Irish band U2 was very popular!

Bono is the lead singer in U2, one of the world’s biggest selling rock bands. He grew up in Northern Ireland, the son of one Catholic and one Protestant parent. Throughout his childhood and adult years he was a constant witness to the hatreds fuelled by ‘Christian’ belief. It left Bono less than enthusiastic about the Church. Nevertheless, Bono embraced Christian faith and maintains his embrace, not he says, because of the Church but because of grace. It is the one thing that makes him want to be a Christian. In a speech to a Harvard University graduating class in 2000 he declared he was a believer in grace over karma, karma being the notion that we get what we deserve.

In a song entitled Grace (found on U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind album released in 2000) Bono pictures grace as a beautiful, vibrantly attractive woman. Here we find a wonderful description of grace as it comes to us from God and one another.

Grace, she takes the blame
She carries the shame
Removes the stains
It could be her name

 Grace, it’s the name for a girl
It’s also a thought that changed the world
And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything.

 Grace, she’s got the walk,
Not a ramp or on chalk
She’s got the time to talk
She travels outside of karma
She travels outside of karma
When she goes to work
You can hear her strings
Grace finds beauty in everything.

 Grace, she carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips
She carries a pearl in perfect condition.

What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things.

 Grace makes beauty out of ugly things.

Source: Lyrics from U2, “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” album. Information on Bono from U2.com and mcphisto.com.


Staffing – 2021

I know a number of you are eager to know the class teacher allocations for next year. I can confirm that I’m in the final stages of appointment and should be in a position to advise of such in the next week or two. One of the points of great celebration for me at St John’s is that we have a wonderfully professional team of people whose core purpose and focus squarely points to the nurture and growth of the children in our care. I remain to have full faith in the abilities and capacity of each of our team in being able to deliver quality care, love and grace to all and look forward with excitement to 2021.


Swimming

Weekly swimming lessons continue to occur each Monday. Thank you to Mr. Higgins and the teaching staff for organising our swimming program. Please remind your child/ren to bring their appropriate swimming equipment each week in readiness for their lesson. Please note that we have taken the decision (based on advice) not to undertake our swimming carnival event this year chiefly owing to covid-related concerns. That said, we have built into the swimming program opportunities for our students as a quasi replacement to the carnival. Also, we are investigating the possibility of dates for Term 1, 2021 and will advise accordingly as to whether or not we are successful in securing such.


Head Lice

It has come to our attention that some students in our school may have head lice. I seek your cooperation in checking your child’s hair and scalp today and every two days for ten days after this date due to the varying stages of eggs hatching. This is an ongoing problem that can only be contained by constant monitoring. Head lice occur regardless of how clean the hair is. This is why a child’s head and hair needs to be inspected regularly. If your child has contracted head lice do not be alarmed. Although the condition is unpleasant it is easily treated with specialised treatments from your local pharmacist. When lice are found, fast and thorough treatment is required. If you are unsure as to how to treat head lice – please see your local pharmacist who will assist you.

If we all take action at the same time, it will help enormously to stop the spread of head lice.

Head lice information sheets can be obtained from: http://www.jcu.edu.au/school/’phtm/PHTM/hlice/hlinfo1.htm or http://www.nitpickers.com.au

Thank you for your understanding and assistance in regard to this matter.


End of Year Assessment

As you know, Term 4 is a very short term. Assessment is occurring across year levels in various subject areas and across Units of Inquiry, ready for reports.  Please support your child in this by ensuring they arrive at school on time, have had a good breakfast and are ready for their day with all necessary equipment, especially writing implements.

 

Thank you for working in partnership with us.

Grace and Peace

Chris Mallett

PRINCIPAL