A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school in Adelaide,
South Australia

Early Learning to Year 12

From the Chaplain - Edition 17 - 2018

Every week in our wellbeing programs, there is a designated character strength to focus on, from the "Values Institute", host of modern positive psychology. These are often reflected in themes for Chapel in that week. During Week 5 that strength has been Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence.

Such transformative moments are very much linked to spirituality. The Australian writer and thinker, former Cabinet Minister, Barry Jones in his autobiography The Thinking Reed terms such experiences ‘numinous’ from the Latin ‘numen’ meaning deity. They are, he writes, awe-inspiring or filled with a sense of the presence of divinity … which bursts beyond rationality, often explodes in contact with creativity, music, literature, painting, sculpture, but also with landscape, nature and the night sky. Moments, seemingly from ‘beyond ourselves’, in which we find ourselves filled with wonder and awe. ‘God’ moments.

Yet, I am often reminded how fleeting these moments can be. There is a human desire to want them to remain, to stay in that place. Like the disciples James and Peter and John on the mountain with Jesus. Probably church worship has been the attempt to create such moments.

I think wisdom is to appreciate such moments when they arrive unheralded - a sunset, a piece of music, a human touch or smile. Pay attention whilst you can. Take the moment 'into yourself'. Then return to life as it is. With this and the other 23 character strengths, we aim to foster and encourage appreciation of beauty in the lives of our students.

Rev. Phil Hoffmann