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What Matters Most

Surrey Christian School has been and will continue to be a place where the paradox of joy and pain nudge us closer to His hidden wholeness.

As my professional career at Surrey Christian School comes to an end, I am overwhelmed with memories, reflections, emotions, and deep longings. What will my last words be? How do I sum up what matters the most to me about Surrey Christian School? What are my deepest longings for the future of Surrey Christian School?

Without a doubt, what has mattered the most to me has been centered on how Surrey Christian’s mission and vision have allowed me to explore, discover, learn, nurture, and share how all of life is connected and in relationship. Our collective effort to Educate for Wholeness by Engaging God’s World in the Servant Way of Jesus has guided how we design learning, make decisions, and long to be in relationship with everything and everyone. We believe that the high calling of this mission guides our vision to Become More Fully Alive in God’s Story. As much as we have regularly witnessed this mission and vision come to fruition at SCS, we acknowledge that we don’t always attain our deep longing for this community – and maybe that itself is part of the journey towards wholeness and becoming fully alive.

When working with students, parents, staff, and the greater community, I have found myself standing in gaps that have required me to hold a variety of tensions. Parker Palmer refers to this gap as the place where I am “torn between the world’s reality and a vision for human possibility.” It is in this gap where my heart has broken. It is in this gap where our hearts are currently breaking. Most recently, the reality of COVID-19 and the horrors of racism, discrimination, and prejudice against black people have created an enormous shadow in our world. This darkness needs to impact us deeply and brings to light how we are all connected to everything and everyone. As Paul taught, “If one part is hurt, all parts share in the pain. If one part is honoured, all the parts share in the joy.” (1 Corinthians 12:26) These tragic realities expose the inner shadows within us. They expose our bias, privilege, and blindness and require us to listen, learn, and change our praxis. Surrey Christian School has been and will continue to be a place where the paradox of joy and pain nudge us closer to His hidden wholeness. May grace, peace, and love encircle each of us.

– and maybe that itself is part of the journey towards wholeness and becoming fully alive.

My deepest longing for the future of Surrey Christian School is painted by the giver of grace, peace, and love who invites you and I to participate in the restoration of all things. Listen in to the words of Isaiah 11:6-9 and Matthew 6: 9-13 which cast a vision for wholeness and becoming fully alive in God’s story.

Isaiah 11:6-9

6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

Matthew 6:10
…your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
I am struck by the paradox, the collision of opposites, that is evident in the description of heaven. I notice that I am invited to nurture as many tastes of heaven here on earth. I notice that things that may not make sense to me can make complete sense to God. I notice that relationships are at the core of both texts.

We are all on this journey together. My brothers and sisters in South Africa describe this journey together as Ubuntu – I am because you are. Simply said, life is about building and strengthening relationships. Humans have an innate need to belong. We need each other and we are all connected. Desmond Tutu says that “you can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality—Ubuntu—you are known for your generosity. What you do affects the whole world. When you do it well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”

What matters most? God is a God of relationship. God is reflected in all of creation. We reflect God’s image, not only as individuals but also in our relationships with all people. Within the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirt – God models relationship AND invites us to share this positive life-giving relationship of Love WITH and for ALL people. May we enter each relationship with humility and this Great Love. May we do this well for the whole of humanity.

Mark Nill