What does your love look like?
Some men came carrying a paralysed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’
I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce the Chaplaincy team of Pastor Richard La’Brooy (Lindfield and Stanmore campuses), Mr Isaac Williams (Wyvern campus) and Rev Geordie Barham (Stanmore campus). Our role is to provide a platform of spiritual support across all the Newington campuses. Each Newington student at Stanmore will take part in a Chapel Service each fortnight and a House Chapel service on a specific Wednesday night within the first semester. There is also a student Christian group (CRU) that is currently held each Monday lunchtime in the Old Gym, as well as a prayer group (Polotu) every Wednesday night from 6.00pm-7.00pm in the Grove Room (back of the chapel). All students are welcome to take part in these groups should they desire to explore or be supported in their faith journey.
During chapel over the past two weeks, we’ve highlighted the Year 12 motto for 2019: ‘In white and black, we’ve got your back’. Our Senior Prefect Mark Elwaw (12/JN), in his address to the school late last year, emphasised the reality of mental illness within the broader community and how important it is that we look for ways to support one another. Approximately one-in-five teenagers are predicted to experience what is termed a ‘severe mental disorder’ at one point in their life. Such a staggering statistic reinforces the need to look out for one another and the important role that we all play in each other’s lives.
The scripture above highlights the significant role that the friends of this paralysed man played in helping him heal from his debilitating condition. The friends didn’t solve the problem for the man, Jesus did; however, getting their friend to the help he needed was significant. They had to overcome obstacles, including the crowd, the extra effort to hoist him onto the roof, removing the tiles and digging a hole through the roof, before lowering him in front of Jesus. What if their efforts had all been in vain? What if the owner of the house had taken offence to his roof being damaged? What if Jesus decided that he couldn’t help this paralysed man? Despite the obstacles, these friends persisted in getting their friend to the help that he required.
The point of this passage is the same for all of us here at Newington. When we take the time to look out for each other and make whatever effort is required to care for each other, it makes all the difference. Fostering good mental health is about making sure we give each other the necessary support to cope with the normal stresses of life so that we all function productively and fruitfully within our community. Asking each other simple questions like ‘Are you okay?’ or ‘Are you having a great day?’ shows that you care and is often the catalyst that helps others struggling within to lean on the support that is on offer.
Rev Geordie Barham