Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
School’s back! Can you remember your school days or are they like mine just a distant memory? Do you remember reading the syllabus for the year and thinking how inviting the playing fields outside looked? Perhaps you had an inspirational teacher who pushed you, helped you, and guided you through the course which had at first seemed so daunting. Maybe you are now, or were at one time, that inspiration to your students.
In the film Dead Poets Society the late Robin Williams played such an inspirational teacher. He exhorted his students: “Carpe Diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary” Now whilst we might argue with the second part of that sentence since Jesus said: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?’ Matthew 6:25 But I suggest that Robin Williams’s character was simply telling his students to make themselves useful members of society and not to sit back and expect someone else to provide. So far as the phrase Carpe Diem is concerned Jesus deals with that too, later in the same sermon: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
Here is a quote from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen, ©1997 which I find apposite: ‘Jesus reminds us that we do not belong to this world. We have been sent into the world to be living witnesses of God's unconditional love, calling all people to look beyond the passing structures of our temporary existence to the eternal life promised to us.’
And that surely is a lesson to us all. Our schooldays may be long past and who knows what tomorrow will bring; we only have today, this moment. So what are you going to do with the talents wherewith God has blessed you in your school days and since then? What are you going to do for God today? How are you going to be a living witness of God’s unconditional love?
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years