2023/24 Theme: One Another
by Mr. Mike Annis, Head of School
Each year, the SCS leadership team discusses and prays about a theme that will be pursued throughout the year – something we can rally around as a community. For the past two years, we have camped on “Building a Stronger Community”. While that theme presents a fantastic goal, evidence suggests that it may have been too broad to pursue intentionally in a season of change. This year, we have determined that our theme will drill down to the foundation of the idea of “building a stronger community”.
Humans are self-serving, tending to focus only on how events, interactions, and situations affect us or advance our well-being. We search for that which we believe will make us happy and strive to protect our comfort, even if it results in the unhappiness and discomfort of others. We are not inclined to look up and see the lives of those around us or how we impact them, for better or worse. Living life this way is a key contributor to our current societal strife.
As Christians, God describes us as a “peculiar” people – special, set apart, and solely His. Rather than reflecting a microcosm of the society we live in, Stillwater’s community can be different – a true light on a hill and a testimony of the transforming work of the cross of Christ (John 13:35). It is a thrill to think of what can be if we, as a community, strive for obedience together for the good of one another. Since interacting with one another is the foundation of any type of community, we have chosen “One Another” as our theme for the 23/24 school year.
God speaks of our responsibility to “one another” a hundred times in the New Testament. To live in accordance with this guidance (59 are commands), is imperative if we want to experience the community God desires for us. Take some time to meditate on what God says we are to do for one another here – a list that includes some (not all) of the places God talks about this topic. For good measure, I’ve added some of what God says we shouldn’t do to each other.
“Love one another” is a command that occurs at least 16 times in the New Testament. John talks extensively about what this looks like in I John. When we consider “love” as God defines it, we find His definition in stark contrast to the definitions we like to use. Consider how God describes love in Matthew 5:44, John 15:13, John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 13, and Ephesians 5:25 to name a few. Consider the parable Jesus used to reinforce the command to “love your neighbor as yourself”. The “neighbor” in that parable wasn’t a friend or the person who lived next door. The Samaritan and the man who truly loved him came from “opposite sides of the tracks”. So in reality, love is completely sacrificial and there is nothing in it for me…except obedience to the One who demonstrated it to me. It doesn’t consider my circumstances, my desires, or who I like or whether the person I am to love deserves it or has earned it. Yet love is the first in the list of fruits of the Holy Spirit that He produces in our lives and it is clear how dependent we are on Him to transform our lives.
As we prepare for the 2023/24 school year, I encourage each of you to join us in studying through the listed Scriptures asking that God prepare us for a year together focusing on “one another”. Can you imagine the impact this will have on our students as we strive to transfer a culture to them that is distinctly Christian – working shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand?!
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit,
but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.