Hermannsburg, Northern Territory, is an area that has a special place in the history of the Lutheran church in Australia. During a time of persecution of Indigenous Australians, Hermannsburg provided a place of safety, refuge and education for many.
Last week more than 80 principals of Australian Lutheran schools met in Alice Springs for a period of collegiality, professional development and inspiration. As I sat comfortably in the plane travelling to the conference I looked down at the mostly desolate country that lays between north west Victoria and Alice Springs and could not help but think how hard life would have been for the first pastors and teachers who went to serve the people of central Australia.
One of the speakers at the conference was Dr Dan White, a colleague from Catholic schools in NSW. He had much wisdom to share with us but his thoughts that most resonated with me were what he considered to be the marks of good Christian schools.
While he listed seven marks of great Christian schools, the one that stuck in my mind was the suggestion that Christian schools should be places where costly love is present – a love that is committed to supporting the community regardless of the cost to the individual.
While we seek to teach students many things at Sunshine, my deepest desire is that our children emerge from this school with a deep commitment to loving others in their community. God’s love for us was indeed costly for it cost him the life of his precious son.
Serving others selflessly is seldom an easy road to follow but it is the one that Christ took. I see this love in the student who walks across the yard to play with a someone playing alone, in the teachers putting in additional hours to ensure top quality learning and in the parents who go without to ensure a good education for their children.
As our reading from Romans this week points out, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another…love is the fulfilling of the law”
May the children set us all an example by selflessly caring for others.