This is the day that the LORD has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)
The joy of the LORD is our Strength! (Psalm 28:7)
For hundreds of assemblies and chapels over the last several years, students and I have greeted each other with these words. It is a wonderful way at the beginning of a school day to remind each other of who we are and what we are about--the sons and daughters of a good and great King in whom we can rejoice no matter what our circumstances.
Although our circumstances are unique this fall with social distancing and COVID-19-prevention protocols,the opportunity and invitation to take joy is always relevant.
One of the primary reasons that the Skylark is on our logo is this commitment to demonstrate joy no matter how easy or hard our situation might be. Just like the actual skylark in the wild, we can demonstrate our gratitude and resilience even while 'on the wing' of struggle. Likewise, it is a big part of the message of last year's parent and staff read, Rare Leadership, which includes practices and anecdotes on how we as leaders (and every parent and teacher is one) can'return to joy' in the moments of stress and pain.
It may be the most important lesson that any of our children can learn this year, and one that seems to be quite rare in these days--not simply enduring or getting through tough situations but actually experiencing a growing measure of joy and relational connectedness with others and God Himself. Such a perspective does not ignore the hardships and pain that we personally experience or see in others' lives. Instead, it points to the fact that God is enough, more than sufficient, and that He invites us to turn our pain over to Him to transform into something that only He can imagine.
It accounts for the perspective that James includes at the beginning of his epistle:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of
your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect
and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously
to all without reproach,and it will be given him. (James 1:2-5)
Count it all joy--how refreshing that is. And possibly how infuriating! May we as adults and 'rare leaders' of our children and students model this principle and truth more over the weekend and coming week. May they see us going to the Living God for strength, peace, and joy. It may be the most important aspect of growth that they see in us this year.