Heathdale flower 21st June 2024

Sustained and Enabled in a Challenging World

A meaningful conversation at our Melton campus' Imago Dei Prize exhibition reaffirmed the importance of our College's mission to instil faith and resilience in our students, equipping them to face contemporary challenges with confidence and hope.

Heathdale flower

This week, I had the opportunity to attend what I believe has the potential to become a landmark event in the Heathdale calendar. As part of the 10-year celebration of our Melton campus, we held the inaugural Imago Dei exhibition.

The Imago Dei exhibition has followed the lead of the Archibald Prize, which prestigiously celebrates portrait paintings in Australia. Our current talented Year 11 Art Making and Exhibiting students were set the task of interviewing a staff member, capturing part of their story and then represent this in a portrait.

Melton families, if you haven’t so far, please find a way to get to the Art Building foyer and see the magnificent pieces of work!

We invited several local dignitaries to the exhibition, and one of these was Cr Sophie Ramsay, who is a long serving local Council representative. As we chatted, Cr Ramsay spoke of remembering when Mowbray College commenced, then concluded and when Heathdale Christian College commenced.

One of her interesting reflections was that she was so delighted that Heathdale commenced 10 years ago because as a Christian School, it had a set of values at its base that ‘today’s society’ really needs. That Heathdale Christian College, because of our Christian values, could provide something of significance to the families of the Melton region.

I was deeply encouraged to hear Cr Ramsay say this, as this is the very heart of Heathdale! This is why we have ,as one of our foundation statements, the call from The Old Testament book of Proverbs to “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is older, he will not depart from it.” (22:6)

As I reflected on this conversation with Cr Ramsay, I realised that the challenges parents of 10 or more years ago continue to have today, in possibly intensified measures, as we attempt to raise our children. I was deeply encouraged that Cr Ramsay recognised that at Heathdale Christian College, we are able to speak hope and life into these young lives because of a passage like the following states, from the New Testament Book of Colossians: “God wants everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you; therefore you can look forward to sharing in God's glory. It's that simple.” (1:28, The Message)

Many social commentators have suggested that the problems we face in contemporary culture today far outweigh the problems with which other generations have had to grapple with in the past. Issues like widespread drug addiction, alcoholism, domestic violence, pornography, gambling, resistance to God-given authority, incivility and obsession with self, just to name a few!

We must be careful, however, to ensure that we don’t become so taken up with the ‘problems’ that we forget the resources God has given us. Resources such as our faith communities, this community and in, particular, the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the lives of followers of Jesus.

I once heard a wise Biblical scholar say, “The early church did not say in dismay, ‘Look at what the world has come too,’ but with enthusiasm and energy said, ‘Look at what has come to the world!’”

The early day followers of Jesus didn’t focus on the ruin and destruction around them but the fact that they had the resources to reconstruct the ruin. Though darkness appeared to increase, the early followers of Jesus saw also that God’s grace increased all the more.

Gripped by this assurance, the committed followers of Jesus in the first century did not allow themselves to become obsessed with the problems. Instead, they opened themselves to the Holy Spirit to such a degree that they moved from blank despair to faith in the risen Jesus, and became confident that, at last, sin had met its match.

This assurance is the same assurance that our Founders drew upon to open Heathdale Christian College 42+ years ago. It’s the same assurance that past families have drawn upon and is the same assurance you and I can draw upon as we raise our children in this contemporary world. As God is our source of strength, we don’t need to allow despair to overtake us, but we can place our confidence in the resources that God gives to enable us to navigate the way forward.

I firmly believe that we can have this same sense of confidence. Not a confidence that comes about by hyping ourselves up with spiritual pep talks, but rather a confidence that is based upon the realisation that our lives are intrinsically linked to God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We are able to make ourselves fully reliant upon the resources He provides for us. This is why I love the old saying; “The Christian life is not our responsibility, but our response to His ability!”

May you know the blessing of His enabling, leading and sustaining throughout this day and the days ahead.

As we are about to move into the mid-year break, can I please wish you the very best and for those who are travelling across this city, interstate or internationally, may you know God’s hand of protection and look forward to your return on Monday 22nd July.