On Strowan – Volume 14 // Issue 3 // 4 April 2019
College Chaplain is Paul Morrow.
The events of the past few weeks have highlighted, more than ever, our need for an inclusive, loving, compassionate, and kind community. New Zealand, Christchurch, our Prime Minister, and our people have certainly risen to great heights regarding these values, after the tragic terror attack upon our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters in Christchurch.
When it comes to community, I believe carrying out small acts of kindness regularly, connecting with people who have a different world view from our own, and always being on the lookout to bless any person in need contribute to a greater understanding of diversity.
One of our Old Collegians, Jacob Murray (OC 2011), was one of the many heroes who came to the aid of some of those who were shot in the Friday 15 March mosque terrorist attacks. His courage, compassion and now, friendship to one of the men he saved, has been highlighted in the media recently.
Holocaust survivor, Simon Wiesenthal said, “For evil to flourish it only requires good men do nothing.” While New Zealanders have responded in the most loving, compassionate, and heartfelt manner to our Muslim community in the aftermath of our worst modern-day mass shooting, it is important to be reminded that authentic community needs to be a daily habit. We need to recognise that small opportunities surround us every day to be kind, loving, inclusive, friendly, and yet we can negate these opportunities as insignificant or irrelevant.
Community is at its best when the sense of belonging and caring is at the forefront of who we are and what we do, every day.
As a College deeply rooted in the traditions of the past and a strong vision for the future, we all play a critical role in what it is to be a St Andrew’s College pupil, parent, staff member, or Old Collegian. This role is pivotal in keeping our community real and robust in a time where the world appears to have sidelines of uncertainty, conflict, and division.
Our world leaders seek out to be authentic, yet at times, so divisive is the impact of who they are or what they do. Small opportunities to build bridges of connection in our global community are missed by the distractions of self-interest and gratification. Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has led the way in showing New Zealanders, and the world, how one should respond to hate.
Easter is a time in the Church calendar to reflect on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and understand the essence of his contributions to society and how His impact is still relevant today. As a follower of Jesus, His teachings, the way He lived and treated others, I am challenged to be more open in my response to everyday opportunities where my contribution will make a positive difference, build bridges of trust that are inclusive, and encourage a community that is active and responsive in society today.
Being part of something bigger than yourself is a strand of connection in any community that values the input and contributions of its members. Jacob Murray’s heroic acts have opened a door to a community he hadn’t known much about before. It has highlighted an understanding that we are in many ways connected to each other, and that building on this dynamic is important for us if we are to see each other as having the same basic needs; to be loved, accepted, and encouraged.
Imagine if the world looked upon New Zealand and its people as loving, compassionate, inclusive, and kind in all circumstances, not just in response to tragedy. In this place I believe our world opens itself to others and their world view. This gives us a greater perspective of diversity in our community and greater understanding of our humanity, and our lives become enriched for it. In this place hate is suffocated and empathy and love develop beyond what we might imagine.
I wish you all a wonderful, safe, and encouraging term break.
Grace and peace to you all.