I wish I could express properly what needs to be said and done, but I feel I am at a bit of a loss. As the leader of this school, I wish I had the words to share with everyone that would provide some sense of peace, purpose, and encouragement for today, but I am struggling. I felt absolutely gutted yesterday as I watched the events in DC unfold. I have studied or taught US and world history for much of the past thirty years. I love our nation. I never imagined what happened yesterday would take place in our country. It was the most recent of a year of terrible images of our nation being torn apart. We (our employees, our school families, our students) are part of a national culture that has become horribly divided. We have witnessed so much hate - against our institutions, against people of color, against the police, against our churches. Instead of turning to scripture, we too often turn to the echo chambers of social media to find affirmation of our own convictions instead of healthy discourse that could lead to healing and progress. It is difficult enough to think of how this is impacting us as adults, but it is absolutely galling to think of how this is impacting our children. One of my greatest fears is that they will become numb and see this as normal.
To that end, I want to focus on a few key points today. As believers, our loyalty, devotion, and commitment is to serve, seek, and further the kingdom of Christ above all things. Let us always be sure that this truth is above any loyalty to an individual or political position. We are a Christian school. We are neither Republican nor Democrat. We serve a Savior, "and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6) May we commit ourselves to make sure that our focus is always on furthering HIS kingdom over all others. Not Trump's. Not Biden's. The Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
The current cultural environment in America is a testament to the need for our school community to rededicate ourselves to the mission of GRACE Christian School to be “a loving community that spiritually and academically equips, challenges, and inspires students to impact their world for Christ.” Our world is in desperate need of individuals who will impact the world for Christ. I think back to a quote by Pastor James Emery White - “The heart of Jesus’ strategy for transforming the world was unleashing a force of transformed lives…This is how the world will be changed: individuals who have had their lives touched by Christ turning around and touching the lives of others.” (Serious Times, White, pg. 70)
Institutionally, we have put so much effort in recent months into simply operating a school in the midst of a pandemic. However, I pray that we have not lost our focus on the opportunity to cultivate world-changers. Our school is so much more than a pathway to college or a place to receive a quality education. We are a training ground for world-changers. We are a loving community that has the opportunity to glorify Jesus Christ through how we conduct ourselves. As one of our staff members, Leslie Zitek-Smith, shared with me this morning, “The change starts with us. It continues with us. Not just in our safe circles, as you already know. May we never miss an opportunity to exemplify by not only words, but actions, what the heart of our loving God holds, and the hope that of those who don't know Him, will be positively influenced to seek more.”
For our students, my heart breaks for what you have been through. You are coming of age at a time where we are only beginning to understand the implications of life surrounded by technologies that allow unfettered access to information, images, and interactions. For the past ten months, and for the foreseeable future, your childhood has been interrupted by a global pandemic. You have missed out on so many of the traditional childhood and adolescent experiences that we have taken for granted as part of growing up. My hope is that in all of this upheaval, you understand that what you see now is not the endpoint. The God we serve is greater than all of the issues that currently plague our world, and He loves and cares for you. To borrow from Ephesians 2:10, “You are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
As odd as things are right now, God is in control and there is a purpose for your life. Do not lose hope. My prayer, and our prayer as a community, is that we can help you understand the depth and richness of love God has for you, and that as we have the opportunity to walk alongside you for this brief period of time, you see the incredible, unique, God-given gifts that each of you carries. Our hope rests in Jesus Christ alone, and our prayer is that with so many competing voices seeking your attention and loyalty, you will allow His glory, strength, and peace to be your unshakable foundation moving forward.
Thank you for your continued support for GRACE Christian School. May we never take for granted God’s continued blessings for our nation and our community.
Head of School