Last week was Christian Education week. Typically this week would have been filled with celebrations of learning, of shared faith, and of community events including the picnic, ArtWalk and Grandfriends Day, but due to the current pandemic, our celebrations were very quiet. (Did you catch the WCS Grandfriends Day video with Granny B? Check out our Facebook page!) Why celebrate Christian education? We teach that all we see, hear, learn, and discover is God’s. As we see God’s hand at work, first through the good creation, through the fall into sin and its resulting brokenness, we are called to recognize God’s work, our sinfulness, and our human task in renewal and restoration. We are called to faith, to learning and wisdom, and to act in community. We are called to action, to transform our world as we live in the time between the first and second comings of Jesus to this world. Being a community means doing this together, with other believers.
Christian schools partner with parents to guide students biblically, in learning more about themselves, about the world, and to grow in faith and discipleship, learning more about God as the Creator, Sustainer, and Saviour of the world. Each student as an image-bearer of God is precious, unique, and complex. As educators, we are called to love, guide, and nurture. We meet students at their level of development and gently urge them onward, providing for their needs as they grow. We seek to teach for wisdom and discernment. It is crucial for students to understand our culture and time, to build skills to live within it, and to live and act rightly and in a godly way, with justice, perseverance, always in community and in relationship, serving God and serving others. It takes a large committed community to provide Christian education, and 'thank yous' go out to all who volunteer, pray, donate, work, and make it possible. God blesses us in so many ways.
Christian education week is a week to celebrate all of this and to recognize that we are not alone in the learning journey. Christian schools across the province, the nation, and the world provide partnership with Christian families to grow the next generation of workers, influencers, and builders. That’s worth celebrating!
Carol Verbeek, Principal
Perhaps you've asked yourself this question: "What impact will social-distancing, self isolation, our changing economy, and our different routines, have on our mental/emotional health?" I've thought about this a fair bit throughout the past month and much more lately as my family is beginning to feel the impact of it all. I believe God has wired most (if not all) of His people to be social beings that crave face-to-face interaction, that is, in-person interaction, (not just through video chat). We desire to love, be loved, and cared for. When our social circles diminish, careers change or disappear, routines drastically shift, and/or when our future seems uncertain, many aspects of our health take a hit... Unless we are careful to take care of ourselves and lean on God (more on that later).
I've also been thinking about kids (not just my own) - how are they handling all of this? We have to remember that kids' worlds have also been flipped upside down in a matter of weeks; many of whom do not fully understand why this has happened, when it will go back to normal or even what the Coronavirus is. So much change in a short period of time can give anyone (no matter what age), stress and anxiety.
I have come across 2 short articles recently that can really help us navigate this changed world we're in. The first is about how parents should talk to their children about the pandemic. Secondly, some tips for teachers (but parents too) on how we can create a self-care plan in order to stay mentally/emotionally strong.
Here are some of the main points from each article, plus the link for each. I highly recommend you read them!
1) "Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus"
- Don’t be afraid to discuss Covid-19.
- Be developmentally appropriate.
- Take your cues from your child.
- Deal with your own anxiety.
- Be reassuring.
- Focus on what you’re doing to stay safe.
- Stick to routine.
- Keep talking.
2) "Self-Care Reflection"
- Identify what types of physical activity help you feel better.
- Identify what types of food make you feel best.
- What helps your mind feel calm?
- What makes your heart full?
- How much sleep do you need?
- Do you have any devotional/worship practices that will ground you?
One point I'd like to add is that we also need to maintain a proper perspective in the midst of all of this. Yes our lives are different, and we are missing out on many aspects of our normal life, but we are still blessed beyond measure - especially when we compare our situation to other situations around the world; past or current.
I hope you're taking care of each aspect of your health: mental, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. I also hope that: as believers in Christ, our faith will have been strengthened, not hindered when all of this is done. Take care of yourself and your families and neighbours, and lean of God!
Axel Hiemstra- Gr. 5
Hope or Despair?: On the Road to Emmaus
Bible reading: Luke 24:13-35 NIV - On the Road to Emmaus
I love the glory and the surprise and emotion of the Resurrection story. The drama of the stone being rolled away, the angels, the guards fainting away, the empty tomb! The wonderful and tremendously evident power that God displays. Hallelujah! Christ is risen!
And I also love the Emmaus story. It’s simple and humble, with so much to which we can relate. Any one of us could imagine ourselves a traveller, leaving Jerusalem on the road to Emmaus. Jesus shows up, inserts himself into the conversation of two locals who are talking about what’s going on in their world. Can you just imagine Jesus asking, “Whatch’all talking about?” The travellers are astonished that he does not seem to know and proceed to tell him about Jesus of Nazareth and the events of the past days.
There are a lot of pieces of this story that resonate with me. Read and listen:
“We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel”.
Do you hear their disappointment? Their despair? “We had hoped…” Were their eyes full of tears? Were they so focused on their circumstances that they couldn't see Jesus?
How many times have we thought or cried ... “we had hoped. . . . “
The fact is, Jesus had answered their hoped-for request. But not in the way they expected. He had redeemed Israel, indeed all of humanity! He had done immeasurably more than all they (or we) could have asked or imagined (Eph. 3:20)! But they were slow of heart to understand. They needed God's perspective, and so do we! We are Easter people, but living consciously and intentionally in Jesus’ presence is a daily challenge. We so readily miss the reality of Christ with us. Yet this is our hope: Christ is with us whether we recognize him or not. Don’t ignore him. Look for him. Immanuel, “God with us,” walks with us.
(Sources: various. Stay tuned for more Emmaus lessons.)
EASTER: FEAR & JOY
Bible reading: Matthew 28:1-10 NIV
It’s Holy Week in the Christian calendar. Good Friday and Easter approach. Like those at the tomb, we know something of living in the extremes of fear and joy, what with the new realities of life (in a worldwide pandemic). Fear dominates this part of the resurrection story (Matthew 28): the earth trembles in a mind-bending earthquake; the ostensibly fearless, hulky guards are so afraid they faint; the women are frightened by the angel, and then just as they attempt a quick getaway from the tomb, they are greeted by the ghost of their dead friend Jesus. It isn’t the tulips and lilies image we have of Easter. But the phrase that captures my attention as I read it is this: with fear and joy they ran to tell the others. With fear and joy. Scared out of their wits, and afraid that what they saw is too good to be true, they nevertheless leave with fear and joy to tell others on the outside chance that it was true. We know something of fear; we know something of joy; but it is the “and” that we don’t always grasp. Fear AND joy. Notice in this story that is burdened with fear, that Jesus doesn’t take away their fear nor does he replace it with joy. In fact, he greets them in their fear before he invites them to be unafraid. It is the experienced power of fear and joy that send them on their way, excited about something new, something mysterious and unknown. We try to make sense of the mystery of resurrection because we think it will be the answer to death and pain. We accept without questioning that joy will be known only in the absence of fear. But even in their non-scientific world, the gospel writers knew that it didn’t work that way. Life AND death, peace AND chaos, joy AND fear are the realities of life. As people of faith .... we realize that the way the universe works has more to do with relationship than control. We are more co-creators with God than the objects of God’s good will or miraculous rescue. We are co-redeemers with God offering salvation from the power of fear to control by creating the joy of this divine order. We may want answers and solutions and miracles; what we are given is courage and faith and joy during the storm. (Source: Gary L. McCann The New England Church Pulpit ) Submitted and revised by C. Verbeek