Looking back over the Christmas break, a holiday highlight was spending time at the beachside town of Cowes on Philip Island. Despite the presence of the occasional sandfly, we had a great time walking, swimming and fishing. Seeing and talking with others without the need to wear masks was a pleasant change. A stand-out moment was spending time at the penguin parade. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there were fewer people, so we could get much closer to the penguins making their way back to their burrows after a long day swimming and feeding.
We noticed that in a group of about 30 penguins making their way across the beach, the leading two or three would move forward and then stop, check on the rest of the group and wait for them to catch up. We could hear them happily communicating amongst themselves and, once the stragglers joined the group, one penguin would circle the group interacting with the others. We saw this happen several times as they made their way up a hill until their path took them under the wooden boardwalk and out of sight.
The actions of these penguins provided me of a glimpse of what Jesus meant when he spoke about how God wants us to care for one another. Those penguins provided a contrast to what we saw unfolding in troubled places around the world as people opted instead to hurt and harm others. The idea of God’s ways and Jesus’ words shaping our behaviour is a key feature in what we will be exploring in chapels and assemblies.
May the following prayer and Benediction, which was first shared at the staff commencement day in January, help guide each of us in our behaviour towards others and our personal decision making this year.
Let us pray.
Gracious God, with gratitude and joy, we join together to celebrate, to reconnect, to consolidate and to imagine.
As we start a new academic year, as some look back on times past and as others look forward to times yet to come please help us to make the most of opportunities presented to us.
We ask for your peace, grace and comfort for those who are unsettled by what this year may bring, especially those who are unwell, in isolation and in mourning.
Help us as an educational community to continue to seek truth and display your values.
May the words of your son Jesus show us new ways to work for the good of others, to listen, to guide and inspire other current and former Carey staff, past and present Carey students, members of our own families and the wider community. Amen.
Let us pray
Loving God, each month help us to remember that you are with us. Grant to us …
to do what we need to do each day.
to be brave as we face the challenges that are ahead of us.
so that our hearts will be kept calm and peaceful.
to rely on you for what we need physically and emotionally.
that we will continue to embrace what is good and right for ourselves and those around us.
to keep us safe in this increasingly unsettled world and protect us from those who promote untruths and seek to do wrong.
so fill us with a sense of perspective that can only come from encountering the Divine.
that we will show kindness on those in need and who have less than we do.
to stand up for what is right.
that we will grow in both knowledge and understanding.
continue to reshape our sources of confidence and extend our focus beyond what we have in the here and now.
help us to remember your ways in our decision making.
Throughout this year may we know the grace of your son Jesus, your love Heavenly Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Middle School Chaplain