During my time at Cedars I have seen 13 classes graduate Year 12. But this year I felt like I was graduating with them. You see the first day of Kindergarten for this class was also my first day of work at Cedars 13 years ago.
I have watched these students learn and grow over the years, but one of my most vivid memories of them was during archery on the Year 5 camp where I was comprehensively beaten by the 11 year old Jacob B. Struggling to come to terms with my defeat I realised then what I realise now. These students were dangerous! Not dangerous because they held a bow and arrow but because each of these Year 5 students were like arrows themselves.
Let me explain:
Psalm 127:4 says, ” Like arrows in the hands of a warrior so are children born in one’s youth.”
In other words, as a parent, if you have children when you are young, there is a long time to develop them, teach them, stretch them, grow them and sharpen them to be prepared for the battles that lay ahead in life.
Although they might not have looked like dangerous weapons when they started Kindergarten in 2006 this scripture above describes our children that way – like arrows.
The many experiences our students have at Cedars go far beyond the classroom. They gain knowledge through study, wisdom through prayer and guidance, resilience through trials and relationship skills through living in community together. Through all the ups and downs our students are grown, stretched and sharpened like arrows.
To our graduating class:
You are arrows who have been in the hands of ‘warriors’ like your parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties your whole lives. We are grateful that you were entrusted to the ‘warriors’ here at Cedars as well. Throughout your lives we have all been pulling the bow back as far as we could, we have given you all of our strength and now we are launching you into flight. We want you to fly far and true. We want you to cross enemy lines and we want you to win the battles that you encounter in life.
To the parents of the graduates:
Most of us live our lives as if the arrows in our possession are too valuable to shoot. They look so nice inside the quiver. We may even take extra time each day to organise our arrows and make sure they are in perfect condition. What I love about arrows, in contrast to other ancient weapons like a sword which never leaves your hand, is that the arrow only has value if you release it and it travels where you have not ventured yourself. The arrow extends your range of impact and only fulfils its purpose when it is set into flight.
So, in our final week of term we set our Year 12’s into flight as they join all of the other Cedars graduates who have been launched into their future. We pray for the Class of 2018, as we have for their predecessors, that they will pursue the calling that God has for them. Whether that be nursing, law, education, medicine, engineering, trades, whatever it is, we pray that they will fly far and true and will have an impact in their world that is greater than any we could have achieved ourselves.
As our Year 12’s celebrate and then dive into preparation for their HSC examinations, the rest of the school wraps up Term 3 and heads into holidays. I hope that everyone has an enjoyable break, and comes back refreshed and ready for the challenges that lie ahead in Term 4.