I love stories. I especially love stories with complexity and texture, the kind that can only come from a good book. For it is the rich detail of a story that makes it more nuanced, more fascinating, more real. And as a parent and educator, I love how stories invigorate the moral imagination of a child and shape his or her virtue. Stories are the substance and sound of a classical Christian education.
To be sure, God uses stories all throughout his Word, and our Lord Jesus Christ often taught with parables. Indeed, the Bible speaks clearly of God’s grand narrative of redemption: there is a beginning, no shortage of drama after the Fall, the climatic victory through the death and resurrection of Christ, and an ending yet to come. We are part of a story that is leading to some definite conclusion. That is what C.S. Lewis not so subtly implies in his final Narnia book, The Last Battle, (“Further up and further in!”).
I suppose this is why I love hearing other people’s stories. A few weeks ago, the principals and I spent some considerable time hearing the stories of our new faculty, particularly how God had led them to our school. Some were drawn in by the impact of the school on their children. Others were so challenged in their youth that they long to prepare this new generation of covenant children. One new teacher had an accidental phone call to a principal and was promptly recruited.
Additionally, as I have met new parents at the school, I hear pieces of their stories. I’ve already heard stories that include trial, suffering, and even persecution. Yet all these stories speak to God’s faithfulness—like the former ECA student who walked away from the faith for several years, only to come back to the faith and back to ECA as a school parent.
Our stories are still being written. We have the excitement of a new beginning to another school year. And, we have the sorrow of loss, as two faculty members have each lost a parent in the last few weeks.
Stories engage us as whole persons. They are about choices and consequences, life and faith. They are strong enough and complex enough to contain pain, suffering, failure, and mystery. And, stories call us to action. So, are you mindful of your story? How does your story fit within God’s story? Do you know where you came from and where you are going? And as the new school year begins, will you pursue your purpose in Christ as our mission statement calls our students to do?
Soli Deo Gloria (to God be the Glory),
Head of School