Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of spending time with Mr Chris Chapman, the new South NSW Education Director. What an impressive person. Mission focused, unashamed of his faith and having recently been working in one of London’s toughest and most disadvantaged schools – full of reflection, observation and ideas.
The most prominent of his observations being: “Just how blessed we are in NSW SDA schools to be able to not simply teach in the schools we have, but to be able to speak and lead so openly for Christ; something not possible in London.”
But more of that topic for another day.
Following another early morning departure with the sun still well below the horizon, I headed south to Bowral to meet with Chris, (Although it did feel that I was heading for Antarctica) as Bowral is the halfway point between his office in Canberra and my home on the Central Coast. As many of you know, not only do I fuss over a tidy fridge with everything in straight lines, I don’t cope with either ‘just in time’ or even worse, being ‘late’. (15 mins early is on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable – that’s my personal mantra: AND YES… I have issues!)
So, I arrived a bit after 8am for an 8:30am meeting, parked, and due to the 0.5 degree temperature, waited opposite the café we were meeting at in the sun. There was a small park, in-between several joining roads and in that park was the town’s cenotaph. Now cenotaph literally means memorial to someone buried elsewhere and is nearly always used to commemorate those who die in war. It’s a prompt, a marker stone for recall.
As I stood there in the sunlight, with the wind chill factor dropping the ‘feels like’ temperature to several degrees below zero, I was captivated by the lists of names, the wars remembered and the impact on this small community. I saw, what must have been entire families, or extended families, represented as 3, and 4, and 5, and even 8 same last names were listed.
I know my own home town in Victoria, (only a name now, as its three buildings are now residences and a square of concrete is where the public phone box once was) has its own cenotaph. It lists the names of the farmers who went off to war, with many never returning. Even though our town has gone, this cenotaph is still cared for, lovingly, and is adorned with flowers come Anzac Day and Remembrance Day each year. Recall.
Remembering is so important.
Remembering what others have done to lift us up, carry us through or see that we are safe. Remembering the value in others that have gone before us. Remembering the importance of conversation. Remembering that we are sons and daughters of God, with a divine birthright. Remembering that we are each responsible in sharing the Good News of Christ; daily. Remembering that we have a role, a job, a career that has eternal impact.
Remembering that the present, is the future under construction; and that construction, is based on the foundation of the past.
Just as we read, as part of the ‘communion service’ in the scriptures, that Christ asks us to “Do this in remembrance of me”; looking back, recalling, remembering Christ’s sacrifice and love should always be our recall cornerstone.
I forget things. Too often if you speak with my family. I need to remember. But I am needing to recall more than a birthday, a shopping list or if it is bin night.
I need to be intentional in recalling what is important in my life.
I need to remember the why behind my purpose. I need to remember what the calling on my heart is and how that does manifest itself. I need to remember; because if I forget, I no longer live for impact, I just exist to fill in time.
I need to remember that in Him, is where I find my purpose, my meaning, my strength.
What do you need to remember?
This word of encouragement for Christian educators was written by Dean Bennetts, and distributed in The Bridge newsletter in 2023. Dean is the CEO of Adventist Education in North New South Wales, Australia.