Contrary to popular belief, school principals do have lives outside of school. I was reminded of this when I bumped into one of our students at Woolworths in Sunshine and the student exclaimed “Mr Brennen, you’re not wearing a tie!”
When I have time (and the Melbourne weather allows) I love to ride my bike. When I lived in Adelaide I was spoilt for rides with the beach and hills both just a few minutes away from my house. Slowly but surely I am finding wonderfully quiet and picturesque roads to ride around Melbourne.
Not too far from Sunshine is Mt Macedon. It takes about 45 minutes for this principal to ride up from the cleared farmland, through the forest that increases in density as the road climbs, up to the windy peak of the mountain which allows spectacular views across the plains.
The day I chose to ride up the mountain for the first time was a little overcast but the sun was peeking through. As soon as I started riding the rain started coming down and only increased in intensity the higher I rode. The wind too had a chance to push me around in the few exposed sections. By the time I reached the top I was soaking wet, covered in muck thrown up by my tires and freezing cold.
I got off my bike and sat overlooking the plains. Suddenly the wind seemed to die down, I felt a little warmer and somehow I felt renewed. As I enjoyed the much easier ride back down the hill I felt fresh and ready to go back into the world.
The gospel reading for this week sees Nicodemus come to Christ in the night with many questions. Nicodemus seems so weighed down with life and expectations. He wants to understand clearly how all of this ‘God stuff’ works. Jesus’ response?
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)
I like to think that just as I came back from my Mt Macedon ride with a great sense of peace, so Nicodemus left his conversation with Jesus with a similar feeling. It is at these times of reflection are we able to get outside of ourselves and indeed see a little of the Kingdom of God. At these times we can see the person of Christ among us, enabling us to join God’s ministry of love, service and healing.
As the students and staff pause from the busy school life, I pray that God may bless us all with the opportunity to be born again and to find peace in our wonderful Lord.