“My sheep hear my voice; I know them; and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” John 10, 27-30
Our Gospel this week, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, comes from John where we are presented with Jesus aligning himself to the role of shepherd. Whilst at times this metaphor may seem a little incongruous if we are to see ourselves as "sheep"; it is more helpful for me to focus on the role of Jesus in my life as the shepherd. It is Jesus' all-encompassing love that I have learned to use as a source of great personal solace but also in my work and life beyond my work. If, like me, all of God's children are equally loved then it is my responsibility to afford each and every person I encounter that same love. At times this is one of the most challenging aspects to living and working, however, it ultimately brings me the greatest joy as it is in sitting in the uncomfortable with others and knowing we are both equally loved by God, that allows me to reflect and act on the ways to overcome difference. Prayer has also given me enormous support in this challenge as it is through constant communication with God that I learn to hear his message and watch for the ways he is speaking to me.
This weekend also marks the celebration of Mother's Day. Whilst there is great commercialism that surrounds this day it also does afford us the opportunity to thank and reflect upon the gift of parenthood. My mum has been an unyielding and powerful support throughout my life and I thank God often for the gifts she has given me and my siblings. (Happy Mother's Day Liz Buick) In considering the idea of 'mothering' or perhaps more holistically the concept of 'unconditional love for another', I think it timely for us to thank all those in our lives who have provided us with that unconditional love. For some in our community this means they can celebrate Mother's Day over brunch and give gifts, for others it may mean a level of grief for the Mother who has died or who was unable to be present. It is important perhaps to acknowledge all those who have given us the incredible gift of unconditional love, be that in the traditional role of Mother or not. The following prayer is one I shared with staff and believe it encapsulates much of what our Sunday reflections should be about:
To the Mums who are struggling, to those filled with incandescent joy.
To the Mums who are remembering children who have died, and pregnancies that miscarried.
To the Mums who decided other parents were the best choice for their babies, to the Mums who adopted those children and loved them fiercely.
To those experiencing frustration or desperation in infertility.
To those who knew they never wanted children, and the ways they have contributed to our shared world.
To those who mothered colleagues, mentees, neighborhood children, and anyone who needed it.
To those remembering Mums no longer with us.
To those moving forward from Mums who did not show love, or hurt those they should have cared for.
Today is a day to honor the unyielding love and care for others we call 'Motherhood,' wherever we have found it and in whatever ways we have found to cultivate it within ourselves.
We give you thanks, O God, who is a loving Mother and Father to us all, and in whose name we pray,
On matters more prosaic, we have noted a significant increase in the number of students wearing non-uniform items of clothing such as hoodies. After consultation with students, staff and parents last year we moved to a more fluid interpretation of the uniform whereby there is no set date for students to wear summer or winter uniform. With the cold weather approaching it is important to remind families that there are a number of items available in our uniform that will allow students to be warm and comfortable at school. They include the College jumper, blazer, long pants and College skirt with stockings. Students are free to choose the uniform they are most comfortable wearing but may need a gentle reminder that these must be official College uniform pieces. Clothing worn to school that is not part of the uniform will be confiscated by staff.
I pray all families are able to spend time this weekend in celebration of the unconditional love they experience for each other,