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Unity and Love

I started thinking a lot about love last week. Maybe it was because I purchased a book about Valentine’s Day for our granddaughter and had it shipped to her home in the US. Or maybe it was a continuation of my thoughts about unity that had been stirred by reading Joel Westa’s article about unity. (See last week’s post.) Either way, when the character trait of the month was announced in Elementary Chapel, it affirmed what I had been thinking. This month the elementary students are focusing on love.

We held our monthly All Staff Meeting last week, so I prepared a short devotional about love. I’ve been reading the Apostle Paul’s letters to the newly-formed churches using The Message. I know it’s not the most accurate translation in English, but what reading it in this version does for me is to make Paul’s words just jump off the page at me. It makes me really stop and think.

Last week I was reading his letter to the Galatians, those living in Galatia, which is located in modern day Turkey. In chapters 5 and 6, he was talking about not going back to a life under the Law, but rather he explained that we are free in Jesus Christ. This freedom allows us to live a “life expressed in love.” Paul reminded the Christians that “it is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.” He went on to say that when we live like this, God “brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard – things like affection for others (love), exuberance about life, serenity.

I shared these verses with the staff, and then ended my talk with a blurry YouTube video about God’s love. Ultimately, we are able to love others, even those who are hard to love, because God loves us unconditionally. Why should we do any less when God demonstrated His love to us when He gave His only Son to die in our place? My prayer is that you would experience God’s love as you interact with us here at ICSV. Remember – God really does love you!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director

Unity and Love

Periodically I receive a copy of the ACSI magazine for Christian School Educators. This month, I opened up to an article called “Unity, Not Uniformity” that was written by Joel Westa, the president of CSI (Christian Schools International) which is another organization that supports Christian schools. The only basic difference that I am aware of between ACSI and CSI is that CSI members usually come from a more reformed background. This means they tend to lean more toward Calvinism than some of the other schools. (That’s a whole topic in and of itself – but I won’t go there now.) CSI has been in operation for almost 100 years and ACSI for 40. For all this time, the two have operated separately, even though they have had the same basic mission and goals of supporting Christian schools.

When I saw Joel Westa’s name, I ran over to see my husband. I said, “is this ‘is this our Joel Westa?’” You see, Greg roomed with Joel at The King’s College 40 years ago. What’s also interesting is that the president of ACSI, Dan Egeler, was also at The King’s College with us at that time. Joel said in his article that Dan was even in his wedding party. God brought these two old friends back together to be able to put aside the differences in the two organizations so that they could sign a joint membership agreement that will benefit the schools that support.

This reminded me of the school where my husband and I served prior to coming to Vienna. We began our teaching career at a Christian school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Over 20 years later, we returned to Lancaster to a different Christian school in the area. This school was founded by a charismatic church, while our first school was much more along the reformed line, as is CSI. Over the years, the two had begun to have more similarities than differences. While we were there, these two schools merged to form a united Christian school that could better serve the community. It took the putting aside of minor doctrinal issues and letting go of some dearly-loved traditions for the sake of unity within the Body of Christ.

It excites me when I see unity carried out through mergers and joint agreements. It also saddens me when I see divisions among believers. Maybe I should save that topic for next week.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director

The Tackle Hug

A couple of weeks ago I stopped in the hallway to greet Frau Deisenberger and a group of her elementary students that were heading upstairs for German class. After a brief conversation, and I turned around and WAM! I was tackle hugged! One of their elementary kids simply grabbed me for a big, happy hug! It was wonderful! Now, granted, if I hadn’t been standing by the wall, I probably would have fallen right over. It was quite funny, actually, because I wasn’t expecting it.

Aren’t happy surprises one of life’s great pleasures? Just about every day, I run into a student or group of students that is simply enjoying being here and with each other. This is one the many things that I love about ICSV. Our students are just awesome! So many times I am encouraged by their smiles and laughter. They are respectful and polite. You are raising a wonderful group of kids. As a staff, it is our focus to want to share God’s love with our students. Last week, a parent came and shared with us during our Staff Devotions time. He encouraged us by saying that even when his kids don’t always want to do the work given to them, they have always felt the love that the staff has for them. Our high school principal shared Titus 2:7-8 with his teachers last week. It says, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” This is a wonderful reminder that we are here as role models of godly character. We acknowledge that we are fallible human beings, but we truly do want to interact with our students and families with integrity.  

That one tackle hug just made my day. Why don’t you try a tackle hug on someone that you know? My guess is that you will be rewarded with a big smile and a heart of appreciation. Have a wonderful weekend!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director