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A Biblical Framework for Considering Risk

By:  M. Prentis &  N. Taylor

As I continue to grow older, I’m not sure if the “bad things” happening in the world are increasing, or if I’m simply becoming more aware of them. With the news and media at ever increasing rates of alerts, dings, and notifications, it’s near impossible to avoid all the “bad news.”  As a Christian, one thing is certainly clear: Our world is broken and in need of a Savior. And while this is true, it can feel deceptively simple to apply lofty theological truths to the choices we make each day. In a world where everything seems to be threatening and dangerous, the choice between staying inside or venturing into the outside world becomes not only relevant, but seemingly life-dependent. The problems our world faces can be dangerous and frightening. The stakes for the choices our community may make for this coming year seem high; these are our children, our families, our loved ones. The high stakes cause us to survey the trials and difficulties around us, to ask “How shall I then live”? 

The good news in the midst of the bad is that our God never leaves us without guidance. He gave his Holy Spirit as a comforter and His Word as a light for our paths. And while we might not have a specific mandate about pandemics, there is always so much to be learned from God’s word. Ultimately, living a Christian Life is about living in risk. Jim Elliot seems to have understood this better than anyone when he said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what we cannot lose.” 

What is Risk? 

Christian Living

There are countless stories of apostles, church members, and missionaries taking major risks for the sake of the Gospel. They show us through their choices that Christians are never promised comfort in life, but we are promised comfort in the Holy Spirit. Following the comfort of the Holy Spirit may take us to the far ends of the world, or to boldly open conversation with our neighbors. All of our choices in daily life involve some risk assessment, no matter how minor the choice. This is why knowing the word of God is of the utmost importance – it is meant to be our guide as we discern Christian living. 

Balance of Reward and Suffering

Risk is about balancing reward or suffering. When we risk something we’re putting it on the line, saying “I’m willing to lose this for the sake of gaining something else.” Whether that be financial risk, physical risk, or health risk, it’s still a matter of reward or suffering. The reward may seem to be security or comfort in any situation. But the suffering on the other side of the risk is what we must be willing to endure. (1 Peter 5; 2 Cor. 4:7; Luke 14:27; James 4:13-15) 

Truths

Our God is Sovereign (Gen. 1; Neh. 9:6; Col. 1:16)

This truth is a timeless statement. God’s plan for His creation is constantly unfolding, we can see His hand through the past, and we must trust His control in the present and future. Remembering the faithfulness of God is a command to the Israelites throughout the old Testament for this very reason – trusting is hard to do in the face of risk, in the face of fear. But we know that God has always and will always be in control. His sovereignty also means that ultimate risk is removed. When our faith is in Jesus Christ, we are secure knowing that our eternity is already determined. Christians are called to make hard choices, and engage in risk because we know that our lives are not our own – we belong, body and soul, to our Savior. But ultimately, this truth means that we do not put the Lord God to the test. When  Jesus was being tempted in the desert by Satan, he brought him to the highest corner of the temple and dared him to throw himself down, saying that God “will not strike your foot against a stone” (Matthew 4:6). In his response, Jesus makes it clear that our sovereign God is not one to be tested. We don’t put ourselves in situations daring God to demonstrate his Sovereignty. 

Community Matters 

It is part of the Image of God to be in community together. We were designed to be in each others’ presence, for prayer, for worship, for fellowship, and to accurately image God together. This complex community is built on the foundation of the Gospel, but it values the diverse opinions of those who are committed to the community. There are no substitutes for the fullness of being in the presence of our fellow believers. We must strive for unity, to love our neighbors and to submit to authorities God has placed over us.

  • Unity (Phil. 3:15-20): Our Sovereign God commands unity rooted in the message of the Gospel. But not necessarily in agreement on all things. What risks are we called to take for the sake of unity? Being unified means that we are choosing to make the Gospel first. In unity, we are willing to discuss, willing to listen to each other in the face of disagreement and differences. Unity is not a feeling of sameness or tribalism,  it’s a choice that we are called to make and a risk we must take. In unity, we are willing to risk our opinions being heard, willing to risk our rights being observed, willing to risk ourselves for the sake of the Gospel.
  • Love our Neighbors (Gal. 6:2; Matt 22:39): In the story of the Good Samaritan, he chooses to care for the needs of someone incredibly different than him. Both men were members of different groups, different tribes, but the call to take care of our neighbors transcends any man-made social boundaries. Everyone is your neighbor, but there is a special bond with our brothers and sisters in Christ. 
  • Authorities (Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14): The Christian life is lived in submission to God’s word which encourages us to submit to the authority placed above us. But the question is not about who has more authority, but rather what is being risked in submission to that authority. We understand that joining any community and submitting to it’s leadership may involve risk. Believers must assess both sides of what is being risked, what is the potential reward? What is the potential suffering? Once the choice is made, unity in community under authority mirrors God’s intended plan for His creation, His believers.

Challenges

We Obey What We Fear (Ps. 128:1; Ps. 111:10)

Our emotions are not sinful, they’re part of how we were created; part of the image of God. Especially when faced with “risk” and hard choices, fear is a natural human reaction. But the actions we choose to take, how we interact with each other, how we communicate may become sinful if our behavior is driven by our unchecked emotions. We must choose to engage our emotions in light of scripture. Taking care of ourselves means bringing our emotions before the Lord. As Christian author, Brene Brown writes in Rising Strong, “The opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead, they own us, they define us.” Fear cannot be the foundation of our risk assessment. There’s nothing wrong with being afraid for a time, but we must find our reassurance, our comfort, in the God who created us, all things, and has everything under control. 

  • Redirecting our Fears (Luke 12:34; Matthew 10:28): The Old Testament is full of commands to Fear the Lord. This type of fear is deeper than the surface emotion of being afraid, but is ultimately from the same place. We obey what we fear. In Luke 12, we are told that “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” While treasuring seems like a lovely thing to do, it is possible for us to “treasure” our fears, by holding them close to our hearts. Being a Christian isn’t about stoically ignoring our fears, but rather redirecting them. We are not to fear the things of this world, but to fear the Lord God, the Sovereign Ruler of all creation. 
  • Love Casts out Fear (John 14:26; Romans 8:9; I John 4:18): While our emotions and fears are very real aspects of human nature, we are not left alone without a comforter. The Holy Spirit was sent to us to be our guide in discerning risk. He doesn’t just rationally administer information, he meets us in our emotions and comforts. The perfect love that casts out all fear is only found in this relationship. 
  • Humility is Confidence in the Face of Fear (Hebrews 11:23-29; Acts 7:22): Moses is considered one of the most humble of the Old Testament prophets. His willingness to obey the Lord in the face of fear is what makes him so humble. Moses repeatedly took his fears before the Lord, even his disagreements with what God commanded, but in humility, he was willing to act in obedience. He chose the reward of obedience instead of avoiding the perceived suffering. His story is one of an emotional, fearful man who chose obedience and is honored for his humble faith. 

Idolization of Comfort 

One of the pillars of our current American consumerist culture is that we deserve comfort. But risks presented to us create discomfort and insecurity. Our culture tells us that comfort is something we can purchase, something we can secure, something that we can control. The desire to make ourselves comfortable can easily become an idol in our lives. Christians know control isn’t what was promised to us. We confess our desire for control and submit to our Sovereign God who does give good gifts. Exercising the gift of community means that we can work together to fight the tendencies that are all around us. 

  • Suffering is Promised (1 Peter 4:12-14; John 16:33): It is clear that Christians are going to face “tribulations” while living on this earth. This is not how God intended things to be, but it is a result of the sin that permeates every facet of this world. Discomfort is part of this life. What matters is not the kind of suffering we endure, but rather how we respond to our circumstances. Christian author, Chelsea Patterson Sobolik, writes, “When we respond to suffering well, we practically demonstrate to the unbelieving world that Christ is more glorious and precious to us than any pain and difficulty we might endure. We have the opportunity to show where and in whom we find our true treasure.” 
  • Suffering is Multifaceted (2 Cor. 4:8-9): In his second letter to the Church in Corinth, Paul tells them, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.” Suffering in this world may be physical, emotional, mental, or physical, or all of the above. Paul is describing the multifaceted nature of suffering that Corinthian believers endured, and the kind of suffering that believers can expect today, so that we might be compassionate towards our brothers and sisters. The risks we must face in this world does not result in one kind of suffering.
  • Suffering will End (Rev. 21:3): We know that the suffering of this world is not eternal. We know that because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the one who suffered most, that there will be an end to our suffering. This world is only our temporary home. We must remember, and help each other to remember, the beautiful promise of scripture that tells us, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Praise the Lord that he is coming again! May we all risk everything we have for the Kingdom of God. 

Questions to Consider

  • What are the personal risks to my well-being this school year? 
  • What do I need to do to manage those risks rationally and emotionally? 
  • What does it look like to comfort and counsel others through risks? 
  • To what/whom do I turn for comfort and happiness in times of need? 
    • “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”  – C.S. Lewis 
  • How do we see emotional self-awareness demonstrated in the Bible? 
    • Readings: Psalm 42; Matthew 26:36-46; 2 Corinthians 13:5-9

Encouraging Words

Words of Encouragement from our Fantastic WCA Families
As we navigated through the new territory of remote education, our WCA parents were supportive and uplifting the entire time.  Thank you for your prayers, support, and wonderfully encouraging words.


“We pray for you daily to feel inspired, encouraged and refreshed as you give so much to your students!”

“We appreciate your diligence and care of our children during this difficult time. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed. We thank God for you.”

“As a former educator I mourn with you all as this should be the best part of the school year. I always loved the 4th quarter! I can see how much you love and care for my children and I’m forever grateful for this. I cannot imagine going through this remote learning experience with anyone other than WCA. I am honored to have had you as a part of my childrens’ lives this past year. Thank you for continuing to pour into them. We miss you all and long for the day where we can see you face to face!”

“You are a blessing to all of us.May the Lord grant you strength, health, rest, joy and a deeper understanding of how much you are loved by Him and all of us.”

“You have done a fabulous job.! You rose to the challenge in submitting to God’s plan for this year.  You didn’t lose your focus, but, rather, taught the kids through your actions that it’s ok to refocus based on God’ s direction and still work with excellence. What parent wouldn’t want that model for their children. You are loved!  We are very proud of you!”

“Just thank you for all you do!!!!  I have always appreciated teachers….now I appreciate them even more!   They truly are a gift to our children!”

“You are all faithfully and generously serving. I know it must be incredibly challenging, especially while caring for the needs of your family also. Thank you for how you serve the Lord by serving our children.”

“Thanks for all of your hard work.  School has continued to be a place of learning and engagement to the glory of Christ.”

“I have really been blessed by seeing them act professionally and with integrity in front of the kids for live streams.  They have encouraged positive attitudes in conditions where I could have almost cried for them considering the frustrating circumstances they found themselves.  I think they have gone above and beyond in many circumstances with the efforts they put forth to provide a quality school day for each child.  Their patience and perseverance has been Christlike from what I have witnessed and it inspired me to also keep on pursuing Christlikeness in my attitude.  I am very thankful for their efforts of support and a pursuit to keep the kids engaged and having fun learning.  Great job, just a great job!!”

“I never realized until now how much effort, energy, thought, diligence and love all of you put forth for our children! Saying thank you is just not good enough and I believe all of you deserve so much more than what you receive but please understand from the bottom of my heart how much gratitude I hold for all of you and that you are always in my prayers!”

“This has been a really trying time for all.  But WCA and all of you – staff and teachers – have been a blessing to our children and our family.  Thank you  and God bless you.”

“You’re doing a fantastic job!  Us parents will really appreciate all that you do on a whole new level next year!”

“Thanks for their help and support, during these trying times for everyone. I personally appreciate all the help and kindness I have received during the time my kids have been at WCA. I think they are Great!”

“Keep up the great work!!!  You’ve accepted the challenge with a positive attitude, taken the bull by the horns and made it your mission to put your best foot forward…..not allowing Satan to gain even an inkling of footing.  Well done good and faithful servants!  We so appreciate your efforts!!”

“Thanks you for all you do in these tough times”

“God bless you all! Thank you!”

“We are praying for you!”

 “Thank you, thank you, thank you! And may God bless you for the wonderful example, focus and grace that you show our children. I could not be more thankful to God for this school.”

“We adore them and their efforts- we miss them!”

“I appreciate their efforts and care for our children.  Thank you!”

“I am so grateful for our WCA teachers!!! This has been an AMAZING 11 years of education for my children.  It has been worth the financial sacrifice time and again to have such loving, shepherding mentors in my children’s lives day after day.”

“Keep encouraging the students–your kind words do make a difference.”

“Thank you for all of your love and support for our kids (and parents) across the digital connections! Your hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed. Thank you for all you do! We are so grateful for you and are praying the Lord will use this for good for us all!”

“We know how hard you have all been working.  Your love for the kids is so evident in each class that I over hear.  I appreciate all that you put into each class and each student.  Thank you for loving, teaching, and praying for our children and families.”

“Thank you for loving our children and for all the extra work required in making virtual learning possible.”

“You are all loved and appreciated. And we know this is tough especially for those that live far away. Not every teacher is able to stop by their students’ houses and provide them with messages, but we know the ones who can’t do things like that are just as dedicated. Thank you for all your lesson planning, for making helpful videos, for investing so much time and attention into your work. I hope you’re all doing well and staying safe and above all, staying positive.”

“Thank you for all of your hard work behind the scenes, for putting yourself in our shoes and making adjustments for at-home learning. We are grateful for your leadership and the love you put into all you do!”

“I know the teachers would rather be in the class , but they are still having an important impact on their students.”

“Thank you, Thank you for not giving up on educating our students well!”

“You are doing amazing! Thank you for all of the instructional videos and little touches to connect with the kids.”

“You are doing an amazing job considering the circumstances. Thank you for your help and guidance during this unprecedented time. Thank you for the encouragement and love you give to our children! We are blessed to have you in our lives!”

 “The teachers have been very available, helpful, and understanding. I really appreciate their patience as there has been a bit of a learning curve. Thank you!”

“The teachers have been so gracious and encouraging! They each have their own stressors and own families to care for and yet they are making time to write cards, get on class live streams when my child is having a rough day to encourage them, and even stopping by the home with a treat or special sign. I’m so thankful for how well they love my children and our family and their self sacrifice does not go unnoticed.”

“Thank you for your flexibility, ingenuity, positive, Christ-centered, and continued investment in our children.”

“Thank you for all the time you are putting into your class. I recognize you are also a parent and helping with your child’s ‘at home’ schooling. Thank you for how often you are available to help us.”

“Please stay strong in the knowledge that we love you and support all the extra hours you are putting into these last weeks of the 2019-2020 school year.”

“You are all amazing! You have handled this transition from classroom to distance learning with grace, making it look effortless! Thank you for all you do!”

“They are doing an EXCELLENT job. We are very thankful for their extra work they are doing to make this online teaching successful. We understand that this isn’t easy to do. You can see the effort they are putting forth for our daughter. We are blessed by each one. We have friends in other schools and have not had much Interaction with the teachers. Praising God for WCA teachers.”

“We appreciate the efforts of teachers who have reached out in special ways and accommodated requests for more help and/or more time.”

“I know this is challenging, but keep up the good (and hard) work you are doing! You are making a difference in our children’s lives.”

“May God bless them and hold them close to Him.  Their roles are now seen as even more important than before and that’s a wonderful thing.”

“The teachers did a great job with quickly organizing assignments and setting up google classroom.”

“Incredible job learning a whole new way of teaching on the fly. I imagine you’ve been busier than ever. Thank you. And thank you for your patience as parents and kids adapted.”

“I am proud of how quickly the teachers got google classroom up and running, this has been a learning curve for most of us. They have done a great job in communicating what is expected each day.”

“We SO appreciate their love for our children and grace when things may not be done their way!! SO THANK YOU!!”

“We think all the WCA teachers are very cool. :)”

“We are so grateful for all you do! One of the “silver linings” to all of this is that we have been able to see and hear you working with our kids in a way that we never have before. The love and patience that you all have for your students and their families is amazing! I couldn’t imagine a better team of people to help us shepherd our children into adulthood! Thank you! ❤️”

“Teachers are trying to teach as best as they can remotely as we can see and trying to stay connected with all kids.Fantastic job!”

“We are so grateful for your positive attitudes, patience and helpfulness. Thank you for doing your best to help our children finish the school year! May the Lord bless you and keep you and give you strength and endurance to finish strong!”

“Thank you. You are a blessing and a treasure.

“Thank you for being available for google meet and FaceTime one on one sessions with my kids in areas that they struggle. They don’t want to receive all the instructions from me. It is nice from them to learn from their teachers who are way, way more educated than I am in teaching.”

“The teachers have handled this with such patience, and kindness and grace to us parents, who were totally overwhelmed at first. I’m so thankful for that. When I’ve dropped balls, and I’ve dropped many, the teachers were there to encourage, never condemn. I really needed that.”

“Great job!!! Very thankful for the “consistency” and “creativity” that they try to provide the students and try to adjust themselves as well. Well done!!! Praise God!”

“you have been amazing and wonderful. you have even figured out how to love on my kids via the computer!”

“We so appreciate the support, encouragement, flexibility, and love the teachers have poured out over these last few weeks. Thank you for all your hard work!”

“I Cor. 15:58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”

“I so appreciate all the extra things the teachers have done to try to stay connected and maintain consistency for the kids. They put a routine in place with lightning speed which has made all this possible.”

“We know this was stressful for everyone but I pray we all learned and grew from the experience. We also hope you all have a wonderful summer with your families and that your time together is blessed.”

Prepared

Dear students, it has been a pleasure to be your teacher these past years. I remember with fondness your first discoveries of the joy of Shakespeare in Room 116 as we performed Romeo and Juliet together. I remember, perhaps with less fondness, how I terrified Javy and others of you on my first day teaching you. I remember field trips downtown, college visits, compass group mafia games, and many, many other things with great fondness. It is with great joy that I address you on this, the capstone day of your academic career thus far. You stand at the pinnacle of one achievement looking at the rest of your life ahead of you. 

As you enter life as adults, I feel certain that you will be charged to “bring the light of Christ.” Specifically, though, what does it mean to bring the light of Christ? In this time, I could point out that you are particularly equipped to those who Christ called “The least of these”. I could point out that your reading and practice here has particularly prepared you to proclaim the gospel. I could point out that your preparation here has particularly suited you to enter a world where immorality is cherished and redeem that world. I want, however, to show how you are particularly well-prepared to address three other challenges facing our world. 

First: Fractured Communities. Our communities are fractured and broken. The people within them are distanced from one another (this separation runs deeper than just the social distancing policies with which we are now all familiar). The people in our communities have neither the close knit community of the monastery or the guild, nor the civic duty and sense of camaraderie of the earlier decades of our own country. Neighbors not only don’t speak to one another, they don’t even know one another. We live in a society which not only cannot love its neighbors, but doesn’t even know its neighbors down the street. A society which even has a hard time envisioning a world in which true community exists.

You have been given the vision of what redeemed community looks like. You have seen the way a community operates as you have been members of the WCA community. You have read books like To Kill a Mockingbird, Life Together, and The City of God that cast this vision for you. This will require you to take steps that will make you feel uncomfortable, because people who seek to build genuine community in our society are frequently socially uncomfortable. The way to go about this is also to do the uncomfortable things – meet your neighbors; talk to, cry with, build up, and listen to your friends; host meals and eat with others (even in a dorm room), build community in a thousand small ways.

You are all equipped to do this: I see that equipping in the tutoring you have done as you participated in our community by helping younger students. I have seen it in your desire to encourage and build up one another, younger students, and your teachers. I have seen it in your service in the kindergarten classrooms and other Grammar School classrooms. I have seen it in your senior theses where you thought deeply and carefully about precisely this activity. Don’t let this preparation go to waste – do the hard work of building community wherever you find yourself.

Second: A World Without Imagination, Wonder, or the capacity to appreciate Beauty. Our society’s conception of the world has neither the color of Chaucer, nor the mystery of Lewis. People in our society do not love beauty. Folks around us don’t care about it because they haven’t seen enough of it. Their environments are filled with ugly, practical things. They have been made to live in cities and buildings which are designed not for beauty, but for efficiency with much of the same mindset as that used to design particularly inhumane dairy farms. The language they speak has none of the imagery of Shakespeare nor the tripping lightness of Frost. To people who speak a purely utilitarian language, the beauty of Christ as the Word makes no sense whatsoever. If people do not know what beauty is, they will not desire it. If they do not desire beauty, they will not create or contemplate it. Without beauty, the people perish. “Sin is the receding of the soul from the beautiful” – Gregory of Nyssa

Yet you have the ability to see the world as miraculous; to see the world as George Herbert did: 

The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

You also have the ability to create this beauty all around you. You have practiced this with Mrs. Halleland and Mrs. Ziegler. You have studied from those who are greatest at this – Homer, Michelangelo, Milton, Bach, and Monet. I see you creating and loving this beauty in your writing, in your music, in your art, and in your dance. Continue to do so. The creation of beauty is not a hobby or a secondary task, it is vitally important to make us fully human. 

Third: Metaphysically Misled. Those around us do not know who they are or what their place is in the kingdom of God. They question even the nature of reality, but are too intellectually indolent to ponder what the true implications of that may be. This is not to disparage anyone, but to point out that as a society, intellectual indolence is valued. People in our society are not only metaphysically misled, but dangerously metaphysically lazy. 

As the Nigerian author Chinua Achebe has said, we live in a world where “things fall apart.” The philosophical basis for understanding and interacting with reality has been taken away by men like Derrida and Beckett. Aquinas, Augustine, and Plato have been left behind. We must call people back to a world where truth is valued and where inquiry and the quest for truth is both acknowledged as hard and yet daily attempted. 

You have been prepared to address this dangerous lack of truth in the world around you. You have read and considered the deepest thinkers of the Western World. You have written so much that your writing is precise, efficient, and logical; an excellent vehicle to communicate and seek after truth. You have sought for truth in class debates, in socratic discussions, in essays, and in presentations. Keep seeking for truth, and keep inspiring others to do it as well. 

A warning before I wrap up: You have well-sharpened intellects. You have been given all of the necessary tuning, sharpening, and oiling. You have been prepared in all the right ways. Sharp tools, however, can be used for the wrong ends. It does not matter how much you sharpen the axe, if you use it to cut a hole in the boat, you will still drown. Use what you have been given in the right way and for the right purposes. 

Now,
Calvin, who is always ready with a witty remark and a wise word

Morgan, who is always full of joy and who brings that joy to others

Jayna, who motivates us to excellence because of her passion to pursue it. 

Javy, who is unceasingly kind to everyone, regardless of circumstances

Danny, whose writing is sharper than a knife

Stephen, who blends wit and a search for the truth in an incredibly winsome manner

Benjamin, who leads others well in every situation

Olivia, who loves and shares beauty in all she does

Priscilla, whose passion for Christian service is always evident

Abby, whose big laugh and big heart blesses everyone with whom she comes in contact

Eden, whose ability to build relationships and encourage others amazes me

and Helen, who thinks deeply and creates meaningful beauty as a result

It is for you that I give you this last charge which is especially dear to my heart: Continue to learn, be life-long learners. Search out truth with a vigor unfamiliar and strange to your contemporaries. If you do not continue to learn, you waste what you have learned so far. Learning which does not lead to more learning and more of a desire to seek out is sterile, useless, and wasted. Learn not only because it helps you to achieve other things, that is the vacuous route of Pragmatism. Learn as an end in itself.

The Eternal Things

By: Caleb Sasser, Chair of Upper School Humanities Department at WCA
After a whirlwind few weeks we have found ourselves living in a world where terms like “social distancing” and “shelter in place” are common parlance. We live in a world so different from the way it was just a few short weeks ago that we question whether anything is the same. When we do see things that are completely unchanged, such as the relentless approach of spring, the song of a Robin, or the bloom of a flower, they strike us as almost odd or discordant. Our world seems frozen in place, so it is strange to see spring move on. As we feel gloomy and downtrodden, it is odd that crocuses and daffodils are as beautiful as they ever were.We live in a time when it seems like everything is changing, when history is being made, a time of upheaval; and we are not particularly enjoying it. As Tolkein reminds us in The Fellowship of the Ring:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Scary as these times are, they are historically the times when the Christian church is strengthened. There are many reasons for this, but one is that tumultuous times cause us to be hyper-aware of the mutability (or changeability) of things we formerly thought immutable and direct our attention to the truly eternal, unchangeable, immutable things. That is what a WCA education is all about. Our desire is to direct our students’ attention to the eternal things. We desire to be constantly directing our students to love God and the Truth, Goodness, and Beauty that we see in the light of Him.

Have you ever noted that one of the primary reasons for praising God in the Psalms and throughout the Old Testament is that God does not change? Remember the refrain of Psalm 136? “His love endures forever”? God does not change, though all the world around us does. David praised Him for this, so did Moses, Jesus, the apostle Paul, and so has the church throughout the ages. As God does not change neither do the things we see only in light of Him: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Truth is still true, goodness is still good, and flowers are still beautiful. That is why our educational endeavor at WCA is more important now than ever, we all are badly in need of a vision of the eternal things.

I will conclude with the words of the Apostle Paul as he points his students to the eternal things:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

A Response to Lewis

The ability C.S Lewis has to convey such a deep meaning with only two sentences is unmatched. In 1942, Lewis delivered a sermon entitled “The Weight of Glory.” To conclude his speech C.S. Lewis said, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” These two sentences encapsulate the verses in Genesis 1:26-27, which proclaim man was made in the image of God or imago dei. Man is unique. There is nothing ordinary about his possession of a soul, his ability to decipher morality, his capacity to create, or his imperfect reflection of his intelligent maker. No man is ordinary because he is formed in the image of God.

No one has ever spoken to a mere mortal, because all men’s souls last for eternity. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that “God has placed eternity in the hearts of men,” saying that all men desire to live forever, and all men in fact, will live forever. The unconverted soul perishes eternally, while the converted soul will rejoice eternally. C.S. Lewis says this to remind his listeners that every word they say, action they complete, and smile they share, can have an impact on the kingdom. Man has intrinsic value because he is made in the image of God. Eternal glory is more than enough incentive to share the Good News with everyone.

This is the “weight of our [future] glory,” that we might share the truth that all men are valuable and created in the image of God, so that all men may know that their sinless Savior died for them, and they have the chance to be glorified in heaven and perfectly reflect Christ. This quote is more than a reminder–it is a call to action.