Tag Archives: Community

Term 3 Week 10

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people… that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Greetings from Vietnam!

When you read this newsletter, you will find me attending the Asia Lutheran Education Association conference in Hanoi, Vietnam. I am attending this conference as a representative of all Lutheran schools in Australia. As I shared with our students earlier in the year, our school is one of more than 80 Lutheran schools in Australia and one of thousands of Lutheran schools across the world.

I am enjoying the sights and sounds of Vietnam – the homeland of many of our families at Sunshine. It has been great meeting people involved with Lutheran schools in Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and many other places.

These gatherings remind me of the purpose of Lutheran schools – to proclaim God’s love to the world through the provision of quality education to all who seek it. In this mission we are joined by many brothers and sisters across the world in other Christian schools.

In our reading from this week, the apostle Paul urges us to proclaim God’s truth. How do we do this? Paul encourages us to pray for each other and to live lives that are full of peace. At this gathering of Lutheran schools it has been a great blessing to gather as the people of God, united by his Son Christ, to pray for our schools and our world.

There is so much power in prayer. Not through our own strength, but through what God does through prayer. Being in communion with God, and talking with him in prayer, helps us to live at peace with the world and be open to the things He would have us do.

As we enjoy a brief respite from the rigours of school, may we take time to connect with God and seek to live with the peace Christ left us.

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Term 3 Week 4

“Don’t fear, little flock. Your Father wants to give you the kingdom. Sell the things you have and give to the poor. Get for yourselves purses that don’t wear out. Get the treasure in heaven that never runs out. Thieves can’t steal it in heaven, and moths can’t destroy it. Your heart will be where your treasure is.” – Luke 12:32-34

The students of Sunshine Christian School know well that I am a fan of pirates. To be more specific, I appreciate the kind of pirate like Captain Feathersword from ‘The Wiggles’, rather than the pillaging and stealing kind! As a child I was enchanted by the pirate spirit.

Pirates were bands of people belonging to no particular tribe, country or region. Their one purpose was to come together in groups to seek treasure. Of course the problem was that their treasure was found in gold…and many other pirates would be seeking to do the same. Stories of pirates stealing from each other abound.

The adults in our community know well how easily money comes and goes. A gift of money from a relative so often disappears as our car breaks down, we receive an unexpected speeding fine or the children need a new pair of shoes. Money always goes – it is easily worn out. This is why Jesus encourages us in the reading above to store up heavenly treasure, a treasure which cannot be worn out. Pirates had a great opportunity to achieve something wonderful… were they not so selfish and so focused on earthly riches.

I like to think of Christians as being like pirates. We too come together from different languages, cultures and nationalities. Christ unites us together on the same ship and on the same mission. We are united in seeking to give praise to God for the treasure of eternal life which he has given us. Yet while the original pirates wanted to keep this treasure for themselves, we wish to share this treasure with the world.

The love God has for us is indeed a great treasure and this week let us seek to share the Good News of this treasure with others.

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Term 2 Week 8

Jesus raises a widow’s son

As Jesus approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out- the
only son of his mother, and she was a widow …. When the Lord saw her, his
heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”(Luke 7:11-17)

The Bible reading given to us this week sees Jesus raise a young man from death. At
first we can easily overlook the richness of the story and I encourage you and your
family to read the story in full in Luke and meditate on it.

The raising of a boy back to life is indeed a great miracle but beyond this we see a
poignant image of Jesus, the son of God. The text records that when he saw the
mother of the boy, a woman who had already lost her husband and had only one son,
“his heart went out to her”. This called Jesus to action. The original Greek word used
here for “his heart going out” really means “a reaction from the gut”. Jesus had
compassion for this woman in her terrible situation.

What we see also is a community gathering around a woman and sharing in her grief.
Jesus too shared a love for this community, and acted to ease their collective pain.

In healing the boy, Jesus crossed a cultural boundary as a follower of Jewish custom by
placing his hands on the dead body in order to bring it to life. It reminds us that Jesus
was never one to be constrained by societal rules or by the need ‘to not get his hands
dirty’.

This Jesus, whose heart went out to this woman and her family, is the same Jesus who
has this care for us all. It is the Jesus whose heart goes out to all of God’s children
across the world who experience pain, suffering and illness.

May we recall that Jesus is for us. He has compassion on his people and loves us
dearly. May we also be mindful of those in our community suffering greatly. Let us
come around them and support them, just as the community did for the widow in this
story.

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Term 2 Week 4

Unity in God

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me…Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
John 17:20-23

This week I am a man who has enjoyed yet again the joy of being involved with the ministry of Sunshine Christian School. There is so much wonderful learning going on both inside and outside the school. This week our younger students enjoyed hearing the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens, while last week our 3/4 class experienced three days of farm life as they visited one of our sister schools in Hamilton.

I relish opportunities to join students on camp and had a great time undertaking activities with our 3/4 class at Hamilton. There was weeding and planting, fish and eel catching, sheep and alpaca feeding, shearing demonstrations and peer games with senior students from Good Shepherd College. Not to mention the big bonfire and the adventure playground!

Afterwards, I asked two students what their favourite activities were on camp. Surprisingly, their answers were simply ‘riding in the back of a ute’ and ‘meeting new people from another school’. In reality, it shouldn’t surprise us that often it is the unplanned moments in life, or the events that seem unimportant, that are the ones which bring us the most joy. While teachers were busy organizing amazing, structured activities, students enjoyed simply being in the countryside and meeting new people.

Jesus’ prayer for his believers in John 17 is not one of triumph, glory or greatness– it is a humble prayer for unity. Jesus prayed that his people would simply enjoy the act of being together and being unified; that through this, the world would see the love of God in action.

As we go about our lives this week, may we rejoice in the simple pleasures of living in God’s beautiful creation together as families and communities. May our relationships with each other proclaim God’s love to all.
Blessings, Tom

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