by LUCAS FITZGERALD
I enjoy movies. Films which contain unnecessary and/or over the top explosions, a training montage where the protagonist prepares himself for his 6’6 Russian opponent, and perhaps most importantly, limited development of characters’ inner feelings are generally quite appealing to me in a movie. If I were to spend some time reclined on a couch with someone holding a clipboard asking me why I like these types of movies, I suppose I’d say it’s because I want good guys to win against physically superior opponents after a period of self-doubt and adversity. (It could also be because I know I’m safe with these movies and will not repeat the mistake I made in my late teens while on a date. The movie we watched was Brad Pitt’s “Legends of the Fall” with his numerous shirtless scenes....ughhhh.)
It might be helpful at this time to consider our school year’s commencement along these movie-related motifs found above. Unfortunately, we will certainly face explosions this year. Some schools will have a cherished member of their school community go home to Jesus in a tragic fashion. A major incident will probably occur at one of our schools this year where an official press release is needed to help stem the bleeding and limit damage to the school’s future reputation. A school wide lockdown/lockout/earthquake/campus emergency will happen where an entire school community is under threat. These explosions and many others will rock our schools this year.
To all of these explosions we might experience this year it is both my hope and my encouragement to you to share: “From where does my help come from? It comes from the Lord.” (Psalm 121) and “Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him” (Job 13:15).
Opponents will ebb and flow into your lives this year: adversarial school board members working negatively behind the scenes; a highly irritated school parent making life miserable for all she encounters; an unmotivated and less than thankful staff member hurting team morale; lower than expected budget income; self-doubt; a school culture emerging that distances itself from Lutheran-Christian truths in the name of student enrollment or other simplistic rationalizations.
It is both my hope and my encouragement to you to share: “What shall we say then about these things. If God be for us, then who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Moreover, “Heaven and Earth may fall away, but my Word will never fall away” (Matthew 24:35).
Finally we come to the concept of inner feelings. Throughout this school year we will experience the full gamut of emotions with their highs, lows and every other emotion in-between. There will be long days and nights ahead in the coming months and many items will emerge that you alone can handle—this is assured. During periods of mental and/or physical fatigue you may begin to wrestle with your thoughts and questions like the following may emerge, “Why am I the only one here right now?” “Why am I doing this and not ______?” “How can I be strong, yet loving here?” “Is it time for this person to go?” “Is it time for me to go?”
It is both my hope and my encouragement to you to share: “Whenever our hearts condemn us...God is greater than our hearts and knows all things” (1 John 3:20). The Bible also says, “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
Whatever your year may look like for you from now until the end, may our good God and merciful Savior Jesus Christ equip you, protect you, and guide you as you serve Him in our Lutheran secondary schools. May He give you the power and strength that is only His to give as you have the mighty and glorious task of serving Him with all of your heart, soul and mind. “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”
To God alone be the glory.
Lucas Fitzgerald is the Executive Director of Pacific Lutheran Middle School and High School in Gardena, CA. He can be reached at email@example.com.