Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:8-10
Welcome back. This is the message that I hope the students heard loud and clear when they returned to school on Tuesday. While summer breaks are enjoyed by everyone, school besides being important places of learning are also communities. First and foremost a learning community, but also very importantly a community of fellowship and we should miss that fellowship when we are away from it for a time. A welcome back is an honest expression of joy of coming back into fellowship.
One learning opportunity that the teachers will engage in this year is a conference that has the theme “Learning through Relationships.” I believe that this theme is important. Learning can only occur when there are a healthy relationships and a healthy community. A broken relationship and community is a barrier and stumbling block to learning. Therefore, all the relationships within a classroom must live out the directions in the verse above.
As a Christian organization, we also have intentionally recognized that creating a sense of belonging and community is important throughout our organization. All of the different types of relationships are too numerous to mention, but each one is important. It is one of our purposes to foster the deep sense of belonging. Again, that means we must all live out the Biblical advice of Peter.
This will be a part of our challenge this year. At Tuesday’s assembly, I had the pleasure of introducing one new staff member, twenty new students and ten new families. There are a lot of new people who need to be grafted into our community. The Lord has blessed us with their presence and we need to be a blessing to them by ensuring that they feel like they belong.
The most important tool in either maintaining old relationships or fostering new ones is communication. Communication that is open and honest, which demonstrates love, hospitality and service. Communication that embraces both the successes of community, but also addresses the brokenness that comes from living in community.
We pray that everyone feels welcomed in our community, the courage to talk about broken relationships and the wisdom to facilitate reconciliation. May the Lord bless our year together.