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Church Parade 2009: Reflections

An Evening Service with the King’s-Edgehill Cadet Corps
Thursday in Ascensiontide

King’s-Edgehill Students, Omer Mullick – Head Boy, Ashley Snow – Head Girl, Bryn Bowen, Beka Boutin, Micha Cromwell, Jenna Vidito, and Jared Smith read the following “Reflections” at the Church Parade held on Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at Christ Church. The Scripture readings were Exodus 33.7-14 and John 21. 15-19.

Reflections

I.

The Book of Exodus tells the story of a journey. Exodus means “going forth.” As students, we, too, are on a journey. It is the journey of learning.

This evening, too, we have been on a journey. The School as a Cadet Corps has marched through the Town of Windsor. Don’t worry, it is not an invasion! It is simply a parade.

But what kind of parade? Are we calling attention to ourselves? Or is about ourselves as a School in one of the aspects of the life of the School?

We meet in this “tent of meeting.” We meet together, sit together, stand and sing together, think and reflect together. It, too, is part of our journey.

We come from many different cultures, communities and religions but together we are a community united in our respect for one another and for our School and united in our quest to learn and in our desire to serve.

II.

This has been a year of many journeys, both literal ones and metaphorical ones. There have been journeys of adventure, learning and service to far-away places, like the Youth-in-Action “safari” journey to Kenya.

There have been adventure journeys to Costa Rica and to Northern Ontario. There have been musical journeys to … Mexico! Olé!

There have been academic excursions to university seminars and lectures. There have been theatrical outings to plays and musicals. There has been the choir outing to sing Choral Evensong in a church built by Bishop Inglis, the founder of the School.

There have been athletic journeys to America and to England and across the vast expanse of Canada, from Newfoundland to Western Canada, by our various sports teams – soccer, hockey, basketball, wrestling, Tae-Kwon-do, soft-ball, biathlon, rugby, track – and by our debating teams, Science Fair teams, student leadership groups and many more.

The School, too, has just finished participating in the Cabot Trail Relay challenge.

There have been our local journeys to a myriad of maritime towns, cities, and villages, literally from one end of the province to the other and back again!

III.

Our journeys have involved just about every mode of travel: airplane and train; subway and bus (buses, buses and more buses – too many buses!); scooters and cars; sailing-boats and canoes; dogsleds and snowshoes; skis and bicycles; horses and camels (okay, maybe not camels); elephants and tigers (okay, okay, no tigers and no elephants either!), but there have been Mexican pedal-powered tricycle taxis, and, of course, we have walked and run and marched on foot (and marched and marched and marched!).

But let’s not forget! There was, perhaps, the strangest and the oddest means of conveyance ever – the headmaster paddling a pumpkin! Only in Windsor! Going forth without going under but going where?! There are, it seems, lots of ways of journeying!

IV.

Our journeys have not just been in time and space. There have been the intellectual journeys in the classrooms. These are the wonderful journeys of the mind through reading and listening, through discussion and debate.

There is the demanding journey of the IB. In literature and history, math and sciences, music and art, we have entered into the life-long pursuit of learning that undergirds every other journey, whether we are aware of it or not.

Just think of the journeys of the mind that have taken us to far off places of the imagination and into the secrets of the universe! Our journeys of the mind have led to conversations with philosophers and poets, politicians and artists, scientists and musicians, mathematicians and magicians, soldiers and adventurers!

We have been able to go with Gilgamesh to question Utnapishtim concerning life and death. We have been able to think with the ancient Greeks, arguing with Sophocles and debating with Socrates.

We have been able to travel with Shakespeare and discover his “brave new world,” his global world.

We have been able to journey with armies, ancient and modern, in their times of victory and defeat. We have been in the company of many heroes and scoundrels, the company of scientists and philosophers, of poets and musicians, those who have marched before us in the long parade of the generations. Their journeys have become a part of our journey.

Part of who we are lies in what we have been given to contemplate. Our intellectual journeys have opened us out to a world of wonder that we might never otherwise have known.

V.

And all our journeys have been moral journeys, too. We have been learning how to be good stewards of the environment through ‘operation clean-plate’, learning about being ‘greenies’ or ‘meanies’, learning how to be responsible citizens of a global community, and learning how to handle ourselves responsibly and carefully in the wilderness and in the city.

We are constantly learning about respect and consideration, compassion and care, for the stranger and the friend, whether it is helping with support for local Food Banks or for Street Kids International.

There have been the lessons learned about how to treat one another and how to respect our teachers and coaches, ourselves and one another.

There are the necessary lessons about right and wrong, about the consequences of thoughts, words and deeds. There are the lessons about accountability, service and commitment.

VI.

Our journeys have been spiritual journeys, too, learning how to be still and to be quiet in ourselves, learning how to be attentive and prayerful, learning how to respect the dignity of difference between the religions of the world, and learning something about the nature of religious and spiritual inquiry so crucial in the contemporary global world.

At one end of the Mediterranean, in Cordoba, Spain, stands a magnificent eighth century Mosque, the Mezquita, built by Abd al-Rahmann. An architectural delight, it remained unchanged for almost eight hundred years, until in the 16th century, a Christian Church was built in its midst! At the other end of the Mediterranean, in present day Istanbul, there stands Hagia Sophia, built by the Christian Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. In 1453, it was converted by the Ottoman Turks into a Mosque and then, in 1932, it was converted by Kemel Ataturk into a Museum. Are these symbols of religious conflict? Or is there another story, the story of (“convivencia”) living together honestly and with respect for religious and secular differences? In a way, our spiritual lessons are about the struggles of living together with spiritual integrity and dignity.

VII.

In the lesson which Ashley read, Jesus asks Peter three times, “Simon Peter, do you love me.” Each time, Peter answers, “yes, Lord.” Jesus tells him three times to “feed my sheep.” What makes this story so powerful is that Peter had denied Jesus three times at the time of his passion. Here, Jesus restores him in love.

There is a powerful transformation that takes place through our encounter with our own failings and limitations and through our openness to God. The lessons of creation and recreation are the lessons of love that restore us to God and to one another.

In learning how to forgive and be forgiven, our journeys of learning have meant learning from and through our mistakes. Such is the transformation of education that makes us more truly ourselves and allows us to live beyond ourselves.

This is our journey.

(Rev’d) David Curry
Chaplain
King’s-Edgehill School
Windsor, NS
May 28th, 2009