One of the strivings of a life of faith is to live the ‘good life’. But what is it that constitutes a good life? We have reflected upon this in this week’s chapels. Is it happiness? Is it fulfilment? Australian social commentator and author Hugh MacKay dedicated a book to this question and concluded that a sense of contribution is key to living a life of satisfaction and purpose. The Uniting Church calls this ‘service’ and it is an important aspect of our tradition.
John’s Gospel has Jesus say of his own life, “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and gives up its life, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds”. In the same spirit, after him, Saint Francis of Assisi said, “For it is in giving that we receive”.
This has long been recognised at Westminster. Our 50-year history, “A Venture in Faith” notes as one of Westminster‘s key emphases “Nurturing a Spirit of Service” [page 247] and says, “This notion of practical service has been at the heart of Westminster’s educational goals for its students … Westminster has always encouraged staff, students and community to see their and the Schools’ potential and to broaden their view of the world through understanding and service”.
There are always many initiatives in service taking place amongst our students; Year 5 students in the Prep School are seeking to raise $4000 to buy trampolines for 25 families on Kangaroo Island after losses in the January bushfires. Recently a Year 10 IT class called for unused computers from Westminster families which they stripped down, and, with the still-usable elements, re-built them, recycling them by donation to the Refugee Association and a local Uniting Church’s ‘Community Classes’ for Seniors. Currently, there is an appeal at Westminster for grocery donations for FoodBank to help overseas people (for example, international students) who have lost jobs, mainly casual, during COVID restrictions and who are not eligible for Government support as JobKeeper or JobSeeker.
We celebrate these and every act of service in our midst. It brings us ‘the good life’.
Rev Phil Hoffmann