by Tom Brennen
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‘Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death?’ (Romans 6:3).
Paul Kelly’s song ‘From little things, big things grow’ is often used to inspire us to make small changes to achieve great things. It was in that Spirit that yesterday we considered what small adjustments we could make to give God more of our attention. But we also know that those big things that grow are not always good, helpful, or pleasing to God.
I am passionate that in Christian schools, there is great power in the staff gathering each day for devotion in the morning. I feel blessed that my current school has a fantastic culture of morning worship together. It is valued, vibrant and meaningful. But sadly, there are many schools that no longer have this.
Each story of the loss of morning devotion is unique. Unions demanded compulsory devotion be considered as part of workloads, increasing the costs for a struggling school. Well-meaning principals didn’t want non-Christian staff to feel uncomfortable. Some felt that forcing people to attend worship was contrary to free will and the gospel. While I suspect no school principal ever said ‘this isn’t an important part of our school’, the many small choices and decisions along the way led us to where we are today. From little things, big things grow.
Likewise, I’ve noticed in myself a leaning toward giving devotions that call us towards positives and avoid calling out negatives. It is more comfortable to be encouraged to be a good person and to love others than it is to dwell on the meaning of the very Son of God suffering and dying on the cross for our sins. The first side of the gospel is more agreeable, cleaner and palatable. Few are likely to be offended by it.
When we gloss over the saving work of Christ on the cross, we miss the power that spurs us onward to a sincere commitment to service. We should not be rude or proud or deliberately offensive, but our churches, schools and organisations must never lose sight of our baptism into Christ’s death. We should speak this message clearly. The Bible verse 1 Corinthians 1:23 calls us to preach ‘Christ crucified’.
That is the good news: through Christ’s death and resurrection, our sins are forgiven, and we have new life. May we ground ourselves in this reality every morning.
Lord, through your death, we are saved from our sin. Let us diligently commit to living and sharing this reality. Amen.