One of the most radical things about Jesus’ life was his desire to include everyone. He actively sought out those people who felt alone and isolated. In fact, the only people he really ever got angry with were those who did the opposite – those people who wanted to exclude others. This belief that all should be included in God’s love is the absolute foundation of the Christian faith.
God’s grace (God’s love) cannot be contained. It cannot be contained and restricted, reserved only for the elite or the lucky. God’s grace will always break out of the restrictions we try to place on it. Nothing is surer than that.
On the evening of Tuesday 24 September, eight students were confirmed by Bishop Denise Ferguson, our new Assistant Bishop of Adelaide. This was a wonderful celebration, as the boys made a commitment to follow Christ. At its heart, Confirmation is about receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit into the person’s life; the Bishop prays that God will send down the Holy Spirit, who will empower and sustain the person for God’s service.
In practice this means the boys have been blessed by the Spirit and empowered to be servant leaders in our community. Life in the Spirit means serving others and being a kind, generous and loving person. Of course, we all fail in that endeavour sometimes! Yet, if we are open to God’s Spirit, then kindness and generosity are far more likely to be part of our lives.
The confirmation with Bishop Denise was preceded by a Confirmation camp which Rev Ben and I led down at the School’s campsite at Finnis. This was an overnight camp when the boys participated in a number of fun activities as well as times of learning and quiet reflection. Water sports, indoor soccer, a wide game, and an evening campfire were just some of the activities, as the boys reflected on faith, the Bible, the Church, prayer-life, and the Holy Spirit. It was an enjoyable overnight camp, which helped the boys bond together as they prepared for their important commitment a week or so later.
To paraphrase Father Alf Stringer (former Chaplain of St Peter’s College) my prayer is that our recently confirmed students will come to realise that God is at the heart of all that remains mysterious and yet unknown to us, and that we can experience, as much as we are able, his energising presence.
The Reverend Dr Theo McCall