Greetings RCS Family,
â€˜Let light shine out of darknessâ€¦â€™
June 21st was the shortest day here in the southern hemisphere. This terminology was something that always confused me as a child â€“ how could any day possibly be shorter than any other? It was then explained to me that this day had the least amount of possible daylight but still lasted 24 hours. Being from England, the thought of the darkest day falling towards the end of the calendar year in December, never appeared as dark as it did. Especially when I could look forward to the various church celebrations of Christmas, singing hymns and being with loved ones to remember the birth of Jesus. To me, this day was one that only went to remind me that there were brighter days and better things ahead.
Now, living here in New Zealand, I have found it a challenge that this â€˜shortâ€™, dark day comes with little promise ahead. Easter is now behind us, and Jesusâ€™ celebration of birth is so far ahead. It is then that I remember- â€˜I am now in New Zealandâ€™. This dark day comes at a time of major celebration for Maori. Maori New Year, Matariki is represented by the arrival of a constellation of stars in the sky. Little bright miracles that symbolise growth and beginning. Known as â€˜Pleiadesâ€™ these are the stars of Matariki and a welcome symbol of the new days ahead.
I am reminded that there are new beginnings and brighter things on the horizons that we should give thanks to God for growth and new learning came last week in the form of professional development for us as teachers. First, we were humbled by the teaching of sign language from our deaf tutor, who helped us talk and listen in new ways. Then we were fortunate to have Barbara Brann, creator of the Casey Caterpillar handwriting process for developing letter formation, share her expertise. Again, we grew in our understanding and really listened to other professionals who were passionate about their craft.I have been taking a real interest in the practice of active listening and questioning how often I talk as opposed to listening. This has brought me to the act of prayer and questioning how often in my busy life as a teacher do I actually stop to listen. It became apparent that I offer my prayers to God with thanks and request, then dash away without actually stopping to listen. A conversation takes more than one, and I felt as though I had not stopped to listen to God. Once this happens, directions become challenging, decisions confused and hope soon diminishes. We are showing our RCS children the teachings of Noah. He did not question or demand from God, he listened and followed. I donâ€™t need to build an Ark to feel closer to God (although with all the rain we have had recently I had been waiting for â€˜the wordâ€™), I do however need to sit with God and listen. I am no poet, but I felt compelled to share my thoughts on my virtual bench sitting with my colleagues and did so during our devotion time. I thought it was something I could share with you all too.
Enjoy the listening time, the peace, and the restoration of bright days ahead.
Sitting on a bench with God
I sat on a bench today â€“ against the wind
I spoke my words then moved away
No reply I heard that day
A withered heart and empty soul
A day of rush, and broken goal
I sat on a bench with God today â€“ and felt the wind
I spoke and turned towards the sky
And listened for my Lords reply
I thought about where I need love
And wondered if I was enough
I felt the moment free of care
And listened to more than just the air
And as the words were softly spoke
Something in my heart awoke
I felt the breath that heals my thought
And answers questions I have brought
A listening being and open mind
In Godâ€™s word a voice you find
I sat on a bench with the Lord today â€“ and heard him.
By Gill Lowe