Wriggling, squishing, sliding, caked in boggy clay amidst the inky blackness. Deep below the crusty limestone of Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, with head lamps on, inch by inch two mates and I navigated fourteen kilometres of a multi-levelled cave network. Adventure caving on private property meant that once we turned the old skeleton key and locked the foreboding steel door behind us, we were completely alone within the labyrinth lurking below.
Investigating a new area, I waited at an intersection while the others chimneyed upwards and away into the darkness. The sound of their excited chatter trailed off, became distant and vanished into the surrounding maze. I nestled one of the small candles I always carried for safety into the damp clay wall and lit the wick. Alone and conserving my head lamp batteries, engulfed by the darkness, I was drawn to the simple joy, peace and hope found in a tiny flickering flame. Deep learning springs from reflection on adventure and exploring.
The adventure of exploring, learning, serving and growing together throughout this year is drawing to a close. What a wonderful joy and privilege it is to come together with our learning communities in reflection and celebration of the gifts and talents of students, staff and parents. Navigating the labyrinth of learning and life, pathways are unveiled to provide opportunities for growth. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul encourages us to let light shine out of darkness and to take comfort as our loving Lord made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. The light of Christ lights and leads the path ahead. As we reflect and give thanks for the year that has passed, we also look forward.
Lighting the first candle around our advent wreaths allows us to be drawn to the simple joy, peace and hope found in a tiny flickering flame. These gifts are God’s work. Our joy, peace and hope are found in a tiny baby. Our omnipotent Lord has a humble human lived experience of the labyrinth of learning and life. God gets it! It’s always God’s work. He understands our challenges and cheers with us in our celebrations. Through mercy and grace, He comes to each one of us, personally, daily and through forgiveness, invites us back into a restored relationship, simply because of His unconditional love for us.
We give thanks for a year of inspired and rich learning in communities focused on high quality and meaningful academic, service, cultural, personal, sporting and creative pursuits. Especially, we give thanks for the special ministry and mission of each school and service as through the Gospel, adults and children learn about our Lord, His desire to be in relationship and to do life with us.
Immanuel, God with us.
Blessings as we serve, lead and learn together.