I remember meeting most of you for the first time at the Year 6 into 7 taster day. Many of you expressed great interest in studying the sciences, although possibly this may have something to with me deliberately setting the sink on fire during that first Science lesson.
At the end of Year 6 we enjoyed beach day together and many of you were keen to introduce yourselves. I was carefully tutored by Mrs Heard on how to pronounce Kaysia’s and Elyssa’s names and still managed to get them wrong too many times. It’s quite a long trip to Bundeena by bus and I very quickly found out just how noisy your bus singing is. Fortunately by Year 11 camp you had moved on from “the wheels on the bus” and even had musical accompaniment. Thank you, Nathan.
Medieval day gave us insights into your creativity. Mr Bingham set the tone arriving dressed humbly as a King. Cameron surprised us by arrived as a smiling executioner complete with a well constructed axe. We had some very impressive knights and beautiful court maidens, as well as a smattering of peasants complete with sackcloth. However, I think the highlight for me was watching you bob for apples – a task which you undertook which perhaps more enthusiasm than skill.
Year 9 camp was a chance for you to test yourselves and get to know your teachers a little better. We quickly saw your competitive side during laser tag. We also saw your bravery as many of you abseiled for the first time, climbed to the top of the large climbing wall and conquered the giant swing. These were not small feats. One teacher, who shall not be named, shrieked so loudly on the giant swing they were reportedly heard back at camp.
On the last night your SLC reps any many of your teachers took the time to share their personal testimonies with you. They shared how God had worked in their lives and encouraged you to follow Jesus. I encourage when you get a moment today to reflect on that time and what was said.
Year 10 was a musical year. I want to acknowledge how much work and passion went into the production of Mary Poppins by so many of our talented students.
To the parents of our amazing Year 12s. We want to tell you how much we have valued your partnership. To those of you who have supported us in so many ways. Thank you. Thank you for coming to all those information evenings and parent teacher nights. Thank you for for driving your children to musical rehearsal. Thank you for working closely with pastoral care teachers as we have journeyed through six years of great physical, emotional and social changes.
We will be praying for all of you over the coming weeks as you continue to support your son or daughter during their HSC exams.E
Year 12 we want to encourage you to keep working. There is not long left so don’t give up!
Mr Ellerman and I also want to take this opportunity to say that as a year group you are great at serving and caring for those around you. I encourage you to keep on doing this.
Our most important concern for each and every one of you, is what kind of worldview do you have? From what basis do your heart-felt emotions get their sense of joy or sadness? Upon what system does your interpretation of world events find their sense of right or wrong? Upon what moral and ethical system do you decide what is tolerable and what is not?
Your graduation from William Carey today means that you will leave those gates with an education about the saving works of Jesus Christ. Ms Vale, myself and every other teacher here finds our reason for existence and our sense of purpose to be based solely upon Him. The Christian worldview, an understanding of the world around us obtained only from the Bible, hinges upon the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In John chapter 14 Jesus says “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.
To those of you whose worldview has a belief in a different god, or perhaps a belief in no god at all, we challenge you to assess your belief against the claims of Jesus. Does your worldview make Jesus’ claims to be those of a liar, a lunatic or a legend? We pray that you will assess the claims of Jesus carefully and conclude that he can only be Lord.
To those of you who claim to follow Jesus but are not connected to God’s people in a church or perhaps a bible study, then GET INVOLVED! If you are serious about following Christ then now is the time to get to a church. Life is going to get hard! The world wants to pull you away from following Jesus and unfortunately it happens all too easily. In Jesus’ parable of the sower he describes how the third seed falls amongst the thorns of life’s worries, riches and pleasures and he goes on to explain that this seed does not mature to produce fruit for the kingdom of God. Now is the time to get serious about your walk to maturity in Christ. If you don’t have the continued teaching and support from other Christians, then Satan has already begun deceiving you with his lies.
It would truly be a delight if our paths crossed sometime in the future and we see that you may have a wedding ring and perhaps photos of your kids, but most importantly if we see that Jesus is working in your lives like a diamond, reflecting the glory of God to those around you. If you are unsure of what church to go to, ask your friends that already go, ask one of us or ask any teacher from this school. Join a church, join a Bible study, do it now.
To those of you who confess Jesus as Lord and are in regular fellowship with others at church, youth group and Bible study. We praise God for the work that he is already conducting in your lives. This work has been evident in the numerous ways that you have served each other here at school and outside those gates in the wider community.
You have met for Bible study and some of you have lead Bible studies. You have served the elderly at the Blue Hills Retirement Village and the school community on the student leadership council. You have made a stand for what you believe in even if friends or family around you have thought you foolish for doing so.
Keep running the race that God has marked out for you, and run with perseverance. At times you will stumble, but be assured that God has made your steps firm and He will uphold you with his hand (Heb 12:1, Ps 37:4).
When things just couldn’t be better and you feel on top of the world. Praise God with your inmost being and praise his holy name knowing full well that every blessing comes through Christ. (Ps 103, Eph 1:3).
When times get really tough and you seem to be drowning in the busyness of life, think back to the event between God and the prophet Elijah. Subject to a powerful wind, earthquake and fire, Elijah heard God’s voice in the form of a gentle whisper. Listen carefully for the voice of God, even though the world around may be screaming at you (1 Kings 19).
When disaster strikes with the death of a close friend or loved one, recall the emotion that Jesus expressed at the death of Lazarus. If the Son of God was deeply moved and troubled in spirit when he saw the crowd weeping; if the Son of God wept himself, then he knows exactly what you are going through when a relationship here on earth ceases to exist. What should you do? Through prayer and petition cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (Philippians 4:6, 1 Peter 5:7).
Our parting words to each and every one of you come from Colossians 3:15-17:
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
God bless you all, you will be missed.