Thursday, 28 June 2012

School's Out!

On 26th June I was privileged to address the children of St Mary's No. 2 National School, Nenagh, at their End-of-year Service, and bless those who were leaving. This is what I said to them.

Children – how lucky you are! You have a long summer holiday in front of you to enjoy. I pray that it will be warm and balmy, full of exciting activities, and filled with joy and fun, for you to share with your families and with friends old and new.

But it’s not just you who are lucky – we are all lucky, each and every one of us, whether we are young or we are old. Because God loves us. He has given us a beautiful and wonderful world to live in. He has given us families and friends who love us and whom we love. He has given us teachers and wise neighbours from whom we learn new things every day. And he has given us a community in which we may flourish.

Above all God has given us the gift of life. For God each life is precious and unique. Each life – yours and mine – is like an exciting story – much more exciting than you could read in any book – much more exciting than a Harry Potter story for instance. Because it is your very own unique story. Day by day, week by week we each turn a new page in the story of our life.

For those of you who are school leavers this is a particularly exciting time. You are not just turning over a page; you are beginning a whole new chapter in the story of your life. You are leaving St Mary’s No2 and after the summer you will be going to a new school, where you will meet new people, make new friends and learn lots of new things.

But as well as excitement you may also be feeling a little sad at leaving old friends, a little anxious about what the new school will be like, and how you will fit in. That would be only natural. I can remember what it felt like to move to a new school – exciting but a teeny bit sad and scary too.

But if you do feel like that, here is something to think about. God who loves you will hold you safe like a loving Father. He sent his Son Jesus to show us all how to live good lives and make bad things come right. Jesus reassures us like a loving brother, saying, ‘Remember, I am with you always, until the very end’. If you ask him to, Jesus will help you through all the changes which will come in your life. And lastly, God through Jesus sends his Holy Spirit to inspire you to be and to become the very best you can be – a uniquely special, uniquely loved child of God.

And here is a school leavers' blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you;
May the wind be always at your back;
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
May the rains fall soft upon you;
May you continue to grow
in wisdom, knowledge and grace;

And may the blessing of God Almighty
be upon you and remain with you always.

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