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St Paul writes in his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians, ‘…your faith is growing more and more, and the love you all have for each other is increasing’ (2 Thessalonians 1: 3)

What a beautiful picture of life amongst the early Christians. The remarkable thing about this sentence in St Paul’s 2nd letter to the early Christians in Thessalonica in northern Greece is that their faith and love were increasing in the midst of persecution. Their faith and love were growing stronger, despite everything they were facing.

There is a lovely link here with some of the work we do in our Wellbeing program, which is one of the reasons I enjoy teaching both RAVE and Wellbeing at Year 10 level; the links are plain to see, if you take the time to look.

St Paul writes about the early Christians’ faith and love increasing in the midst of all the persecutions and trials they are enduring. It’s precisely what the science of Positive Psychology now calls having a growth mindset.

I find it fascinating that we know that to become a better athlete, for example, you have to train. Correct training will make you stronger and faster. What we forget is that the same is true of our spiritual lives.

Let’s use love as the example. You can train yourself to love more. It’s about having a growth mindset. My mum taught me this: when you first get married, she still likes to tell me, you’ve fallen in love. It’s romantic and wonderful. But after a while, when doing washing gets boring and you’re struggling with children, that’s when you have to choose to love. That’s when love becomes a decision. You choose to love your spouse, in the midst of life being tough or difficult or just plain boring. You choose to grow in love. People don’t stay married for 50 years just through good luck. It’s a choice.

… And, the remarkable thing is, you can train for it, by using such things as meditation, prayer, gratitude, open-mindedness, even zest, and St Paul had all of these in spades! That’s why he could write about faith and love increasing, growing, despite the hardship all the early Christians were experiencing.

My hope is that this year you will start training your faith and love. It’s a choice.

The Reverend Dr Theo McCall
School Chaplain