Heathdale flower 12th October 2023

Cosmic Optimism

Where does true, consistent, sustainable optimism come from? Discover Mr Grace’s thoughts on the idea raised by Dr E. Stanley Jones, who said, “Christianity is cosmic optimism.”

Heathdale flower

Earlier this week I received a lovely compliment from one of the School Cleaners.

It was the first time I had seen Hanni since the school break and he came into my office and said in a bright happy voice, “Mr Ross... it is good to see you. You always have a smile on your face, and you seem to make me smile!” I thought to myself, what a lovely compliment, and I felt honoured to receive it.

Over time people have asked me why I always seem to have such a positive disposition. Mind you, after the news this week of what has taken place in the Middle East as well as the divisive commentary over The Voice Referendum, I must admit I haven’t always felt that cheerful!

I read the following statement a long time ago, and I think it has provided a little clue to why I always feel so positive. The famous Christian leader from the 19th Century, Dr E. Stanley Jones said, “Christianity is cosmic optimism! It enables the follower of Jesus to look out at the universe through optimistic eyes!”

As I sat with the statement and pondered what I have read and heard what others say about life, the more I became convinced that followers of Jesus seem to be the only ones who have a buoyant hope in all circumstances. This cosmic optimism isn’t the ‘Polly Anna’ perspective or based on the power of positive thinking, as these dispositions are not humanly possible to sustain, and they wane over time. The cosmic optimism that I’m speaking of is one that stays in all circumstances and is a gift each of us can receive from God. Followers of Jesus may be materially poor, but they know they have a hold of the ultimate treasure in the reality of Jesus Christ. This is a special gift and understanding all followers of Jesus can possess.

I once heard a story of an elderly man who had a vine growing in his garden. Over time the vine had reached its delicate fingers up and across a space until it had grasped onto the branch of a large pine tree.

One night a severe storm passed by. In the morning the elderly person went to inspect their garden for damage. The elderly man looked up at the pine tree and saw the vine drooping over, just suspended in the air with its head pointing towards earth. The branch that it had been clinging on to had fallen to the ground.

As the elderly gentleman picked up the branch, he noticed it was rotten through. The vine had fastened onto a rotten branch instead of a strong healthy one. As the elderly man looked at the rotten branch and the vine he thought to himself, many of us are like this vine; we hang onto things for support that are not healthy and will ultimately not give us the support we need. It is like these people hang on to life’s dead branches.

Where people who have held on to Jesus, no matter the circumstances before them, they have been able to survive the challenges of life and continue to smile, continue to have a sense of optimism, because they have held on to something strong, healthy and sustainable. This is the support that Jesus offers to all of us who desire to be His followers. This understanding has helped me to realise and know that my optimism comes from having a personal relationship with Jesus.

This is the understanding the Staff and I would love each and every student come to know and experience: to know His love is a special gift that each and every one of us is able to receive.

My prayer for each member of our fantastic community is that they will come to delight in this gift from God and have an optimism that is unique and special.


Ross Grace
Executive Principal