Saint Timothy’s School Convocation 2009
Deuteronomy 6:10-12/I Corinthians 13:1-13
In all cultural and religious traditions, throughout all time, it is customary to stop before the beginning of a new journey and reflect: reflect on where we have been and where we are going.
Typically, like we are doing this morning, this means listening to the ancient wisdom for clues about why we are here and where we are going. So we consult texts as old as three thousand years from Torah and nearly two thousand years from the Christian Scriptures. What on earth can they tell us about beginning a new school year?
In Deuteronomy, the last book of Torah, we find the people of God who had been wandering in the wilderness for forty years. That’s a rather long vacation – longer than we have just enjoyed!
During this time God had led them and fed them. He had satisfied their hunger and thirst. We are told everyone had enough, no one had too much.
But now they were about to cross over the River Jordan to a new land and life lived more or less on their own.
Moses stops to review all the lessons they had learned along the way: lessons like love God, love your neighbor, and choose life. Lessons like, I chose you because I love you - there is no other reason at all but my love for you. I believe we can safely say everyone in this room is here today because we surrounded by such love.
And where we enter the story God, through Moses, assures everyone that crossing over into a new land, a new life, and a new world, that all shall be well because where you are I will be, says the Lord, and where we are will be home! Do not forget me, says the Lord.
It’s rather touching, really. You will have all these new things, go new places, learn new things, have new experiences – and here is God saying, please, don’t forget me, don’t forget where you come from and where we are going, together.
Not a bad message to hear as we begin a new year together - many of you leaving home to make a new home here for the next nine months, and others who make this their home day by day: we have been called here to love God, love one another, know we are loved and cared for, and know that Saint Timothy's is home!
Such knowledge provides the very foundation of our motto, Verite Sans Peur - Truth without Fear.
And to make sure we fully understand how all this love which forms the foundation of Verite Sans Peur is meant to work, Saint Paul lays it all on the line in his letter to the young church in Corinth: such love requires patience, kindness, rejoicing in the right, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping and enduring all things. Faith, Hope and Love, abide these three.
Those who rejoice, hope, believe, and endure with patience and kindness, says Paul, will transition from childish ways to a new way – a new kind of spiritual maturity. It is the promise of a new beginning – a new start.
What an exciting prospect! What an exciting promise! Spiritual maturity is ours for the taking if only we have faith, hope and love - and the greatest of these is love.
Perhaps the single most misunderstood word in scripture. When I had to memorize this chapter in high school in the King James Version, the word was Charity, not love. The Revised Standard Version was out, it was the 1960’s, and we mounted a revolt to use the RSV which used “love” instead of “charity.” Mrs. King held her ground, and today I am grateful. Throughout the Bible Charity or Love means something like doing something helpful or useful for others whether or not you like them let alone love them.
A community committed to these values of faith, hope and charity is a community that will endure. A community committed to these values will embody the very essence of Verite Sans Peur. As long as we remain committed to these values of faith, hope and charity Saint Timothy's will be a home for all of us and for all those who are sent to visit, work, live, play and ride with us this year!
And for this we all say, Amen!