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Inspiration

Reflections

As I come to write my final editorial for MECS Matters, I find myself reflecting on what makes MECS and other Christian schools like us distinctive. What is the thing that defines and shapes us the most. All schools are in the business of formation… but for MECS, what underpins and shapes that formation so that we can live out our vision which is to ‘seek the Kingdom of God in education’.

Central to being human is the importance of story. We are ‘storied’ people; shaped and formed by the stories around us. The Bible contains a grand narrative or story for life. This story is not just for believers, but tells the ‘true story of life, the universe and everything for everybody’. It is also important to recognise that this story is not about us – although we often read the Bible in such a way that would suggest this – but a story about God and his big picture plan of redemption that culminates in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Jesus Storybook Bible, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones, puts it this way,

“God wrote, ‘I love you’ – he wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea. He wrote his message everywhere! Because God created everything in his world to reflect him like his mirror – to show us what he is like, to help us know him, to make our hearts sing. And God put it into words, too, and wrote it in a book called ‘The Bible’.

Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done…

The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything – to rescue the one he loves. There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them. It takes the whole Bible to tell this Big Story. And at the centre of the Story, there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle – the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.”

If we don’t see the Bible in this way, we can easily have a fragmented view and use of the Bible. We can drop a passage out of its biblical context and seek an interpretation directly to us, as individuals. Problems arise because without its original context, we will always find a new context – most commonly the dominant cultural story of our present times, distorting the original meaning intended. We forget that the whole purpose of the Bible is to reveal the person and work of Jesus Christ.

So why is this understanding of the Bible so important for schools like MECS?

As I have suggested, all of life is shaped by one story or another. This has been true throughout history and continues to this day. So, if the biblical story is not shaping every aspect of who we are and what we do, then some other story will be! The dominant cultural story can snare us without us really knowing. This story has strong and enticing themes – rationalism, individualism, and consumerism! We need to make sure all our students understand these stories and the power they hold over their lives. 

John van Dyke, one of the great thinkers and writers in Christian education, writes:

”Quality Christian education, in short, enables our children to continue their life’s journey with ears attuned to the Story. To achieve this momentous task, Christian schools continuously need to ask fundamental questions about life, our culture, and the spirits that roam about, uttering derailing voices. Christian schools search the nooks and crannies of the Garden, to see what is happening, and what has gone wrong, and how to heal and restore.”

It is my deep hope that all those connected to the MECS community have their ears ‘attuned to the Story’ and in the business of healing and restoration. That is our distinctive!

It has been my great privilege to serve this community for 10 years as Principal, and for many more as a teacher. Thanks for all your support and encouragement over the years. Whilst I will miss this community greatly, can I affirm Michelle Dempsey as your next Principal. God has chosen her for this next season, and she will do an amazing job! 

May God bless you and your families over this coming Christmas season and into 2024!

Narelle Sketcher – MECS Principal

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