What kind of school do we want to come to each day?
I posed this question to the secondary students in chapels last week. As we introduced the theme for this year, “Make a Difference….Choose Shalom!” I wanted to encourage the students to take ownership of their school culture. The theme clearly calls us all to make a decision, to intentionally choose a state of being for LCS for this year.
Shalom is an old Hebrew term that often is taken to mean “peace.” While this is an accurate rendition of the concept, Shalom in its fullest meaning encompasses all that is involved in human flourishing. It calls us to manifest the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faith, meekness, self control (Ephesians 5:22-23), to live in harmony (Romans 12:16), to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving (Ephesians 4:32), to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9), to encourage (I Thessalonians 5:11). It calls us to respect one another, to seek justice, to be honest in our relationships and in our work. It calls us to make choices in our attitudes and actions that will contribute to the good of others rather than pursue our own selfish ends. But……………….
Things are not the way they are supposed to be!
Even the most cursory look at the culture, creation, and even us reveals that things are broken. As we examine our world through the lens of a biblical world view, we know that the creation as originally made by God was good (Genesis 1). We know that in Adam all men fell into sin (Genesis 3) and both the souls of men and the creation itself were vandalized by sin and are in need of redemption (Romans 3,8). One day it will all be made new and things will be right again (Romans 8, Revelation 21). For now, we are called to maneuver our way through this distorted world and to try to act redemptively toward one another and toward the creation.
How do we pull that off?
Imperfectly! We quickly realize that to live “shalom” lives, we must depend on the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in each heart. We know we are broken and in need of redemption, so we know we will stumble on this path. Sometimes we will walk the way of shalom with a limp due to our weakness. To expect perfection from one another on this journey reveals that we have missed the point!
In community! It will take all of us united in this effort to build a school culture of flourishing for all who come on campus. We need each other. We must “encourage one another to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10: 24). It will involve intentional choices of our attitudes, our words, and our actions. It will include an awareness of how much we have been forgiven so that we are quick to apologize when we foul up and quick to grant forgiveness for the trespasses of others.
Go for it!
We’ll unpack this theme as the year progresses. For now, will you join us as we begin this noble quest? Will you commit to “Make a Difference….Choose Shalom” and help all flourish on our campus this year?
Dr. Mike Sligh, Headmaster, has served at LCS for more than 40 years. To contact Dr. Sligh, email him at email@example.com.