The Times of our Lives

The Times of our Lives

Thursday, 9 August 2018  | Emma - Senior School Coordinator

Times and seasons in our lives can be a funny thing. At points, our lives are marked by clear, significant moments that usher in dramatic change and upheaval. A shift of season that leads us to face something new, be that an exciting fresh venture, or an unlooked for or unwanted challenge. At times the seasons in our lives pass by quietly, smoothly transitioning from one to the next with minimal disruption or notice.

As Narelle shared in a recent newsletter, my husband Matt and I are facing a time of substantial change as we look forward to welcoming twins into our family at the end of the year. In facing such personal upheaval, I have been pondering this idea of change and the seasons we face in our lives. In many ways I am someone who on the surface, embraces change, looking forward to new adventures and seeking out exciting, innovative ways of doing things. But upon deeper reflection, I have to own that in many ways, I find change unnerving. The prospect of an unknown and largely uncontrollable future can feel quite daunting and to a degree, uncomfortable. 

At the start of this term, I shared a devotion with the Senior School students asking them to reflect on what time or season they find themselves in. For the Year 12 students, the end of year examinations and the reality of needing to make decisions about life and study beyond school are hurtling towards them at a startling pace. For the Year 10 students, at the end of this term they face a potentially life-changing experience on the Centre Trip, where many of them will face new, wonderful, and at times confronting sights that will shape their understanding of Australia and who they are, for years to come. In many smaller and often unknown ways, people in our school community are facing dramatic change and shifting seasons, be this in family dynamics, relationships, jobs, health, faith or finances.

The devotion I shared with the students was from the book of Ecclesiastes. The book chronicles the teacher, an old man at the end of his life, looking back on all that has gone before, and pondering the times and seasons he faced, considering where meaning and purpose is ultimately to be found in the various human endeavours. He evaluates the main avenues he sees humans exploring in their search to find meaning. He identifies these as the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge, the satisfaction of pleasure and wealth, and the fulfilment of work and striving. Ultimately, the teacher reflects that while each of these pathways may provide some enjoyment or sense of accomplishment, in the end they are ultimately fleeting and fade away.

At the end of the book, the writer reflects on all that has been said, and makes the claim ‘Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.’ (Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14).

In thinking about what it means to fear God and keep his commands, I think Jesus’ reply when asked what the most important commandment is, sheds some light on this for us. “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.   31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 29-31).

When we are confronted with the different seasons or times in our lives, it can be disorienting to know where to look for grounding and certainty. I think change will likely always come with a degree of apprehension. Yet to me this passage helps provide calm and clarity about where to look in these shifting seasons. There is a reassuring constancy in this commandment. That regardless of what time we find ourselves in, the truth of who God is remains steady, and our call to love Him and others with all of our being remains.

It is my hope that as you, and our students, navigate through what can be quite tumultuous waters of the seasons in life, you may feel anchored by this hope that we are called to. May the constancy of the goodness of God, and our place as agents of his love, be a steadfast guide through the many and various times you face.


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