How can this be?
What? It’s all over? “How can this be?” you might ask like Nicodemus in the lesson Nick read. High School no more?! IB no more?! “Hit the road Jack and don’t cha come back, no more no more no more no more”! Really? It’s all over and I have to go? Hooray! Or perhaps not! Do I have to leave? Can’t I come back?
“How can this be?” your parents, too, might be asking? My dear little one is graduating from High School?! It seems it was only “yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away”. Now it’s all over? Well enough of the old geezer tunes from the remote past with apologies to Ray Charles and the Beatles. But you get the point. There is a question. “How can this be?”
Nicodemus’ question to Jesus conveys a sense of wonder as well as perplexity that belongs to the special qualities of this day. Today you step up and step out no longer as students but shortly as graduates and alumni of King’s-Edgehill School. As such today is an ending and a beginning, a looking back and a looking ahead but as well a looking inward.
This service is called Encaenia, which is a Greek word – ‘Oh no, not another Rev kind of word. You mean I have to think in the morning? Isn’t it all over?’! Well, duh! No. Encaenia refers to a renewal of purpose and identity. Originally an annual dedication of holy places, it has become associated with “the annual commemoration of founders and benefactors at Oxford University in June” (O.E.D) and, by extension, to academic institutions derived from the medieval universities of Oxford and Cambridge throughout the English speaking world; such as King’s-Edgehill. Encaenia recalls us to our beginnings, to the foundational principles and ideals belonging to the life of the School and to the nature of education. Endings and beginnings, as it were.
Those things are embodied in the Edgehill motto, fideliter, meaning ‘faithfulness’, as married to the motto of King’s, Deo Legi, Regi, Gregi, which means ‘for God, for the Law, for the King, and for the People’. Such things signify an approach to education that connects learning and living, a turning of our hearts and minds to the things that belong to service and sacrifice, to things worth doing and worth doing well, especially academically speaking, but with the intention of seeking the good of the human community. These mottos express an enlightenment sensibility about an education that contributes to lives of service whether in church, law, government or social, economic, and domestic life wherever you are and wherever you go in the world. It has very much to do with the education of the whole person within a community of persons.