There seems to be a general consensus today that it has been very good to be back at school – teachers are rested, children have grown in maturity and kindness and there is a new energy that is lovely to tap into. The “holiday club” feel of the last two days of last term, spent given over to artistic endeavour, has set the tone for this term, it seems.
The spring holidays getting in the way of the celebration of Easter in schools, today we shared a short meditation on the nature of generous service during collective worship, thinking about Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. In his dealing with this topic, Justin Welby, in his Lent book Dethroning Mammon talks about the fact that Joseph did not need to spend a ridiculous amount of money on 75 pounds of spices and balm with which to anoint and care for Jesus’ body – the guy was dead and as far as Joseph knew for certain, he was not coming back to life. However, Joseph assigned unlimited value to Jesus’ body because of what it meant to Joseph, and this, Welby, argues, reflects the extravagance of God in the way he loves us. In an earlier chapter of the book, Welby offers as astute and moving exposition of the anointing of Jesus feet by Mary as I have ever read, pointing out the limitlessness of worship and the fact that in God’s economy, there is no balance, just overwhelming generosity.
I would very much like to live this term in this spirit, and develop the skills of deeper selflessness. I am learning to be freer in God, in my understanding of his immeasurability, and therefore this term I would like to try and give myself away more, knowing that as I do, God has me in his hand, and can restore to me all I give out, and more (because he doesn’t keep accounts in that way!).
I will probably fail at this, but the intent – the longing – is there.
On Easter Saturday I consciously stood again before Jesus and willingly allowed him to look me over, to accept me as a servant again, only given more fully than before.
Again, I will probably fail, but there is one who holds me who can restore me.
On Easter Sunday, receiving communion as we celebrated the “greatest day in history” I realised again the power that is there for us through God raising Jesus from the dead and defeating death as he did so. What this means for school this term is unknown, but in the realm of excitement and God’s powerful surprises as we deliberately seek to get the flags out and celebrate this wonderful festival, becoming a little more like an Easter community in the process.