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So, schools are back! Parents are delighted but the students are a bit unsure…
Schools are a very important part of our nation’s life, but I confess that I have an ambivalent relationship with education. I’m officially the least educated person in my family; my wife and three children all have a degree (and two of them have a Master’s), whilst I scraped a DipHe at theological college.
I was taught at a boy’s grammar school, but coming from a working class home in which neither parent was well educated meant that I had little support or enthusiasm for the challenges of double Latin on a wet Wednesday afternoon. My O-levels and A-levels were barely adequate.
But I experienced two saving graces. Firstly, we had a local library and aged seven I discovered a passion for reading that still continues. Secondly, around the time I left school I discovered that God loved me whatever I achieved, or didn’t achieve.
In the Bible, Paul writes a couple of letters to the church in Corinth. In them, he is critical and often sarcastic about the Corinthian believers. They were apparently very proud of their great wisdom and knowledge and Paul takes them to task for this. You may remember the famous chapter 13 of the first letter, often read at weddings, all about love. It isn’t really a nice text. It’s a critique of the Corinthians’ failure to remember the importance of love. “As for knowledge,” he says, “it will cease.”
To be clear, I do think education is important and our teachers deserve all our prayers as the new term begins. But if you ever feel that those around you are much more clever than you could ever be, or if you are tempted to boast of your great learning, remember Paul’s wise words. I will leave the end of this brief reflection to him:
Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ – ! Corinthians 1:26-31
Blessings in Christ
Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Vocations
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