Smithville Christian High School’s annual Spiritual Emphasis Week runs from November 20 to 25, and features guest speaker Laura de Jong, a graduate of Beacon Christian High School and of Calvin College, and currently a seminarian at Calvin Theological Seminary.
To prepare students for what lies ahead, spiritual life director Gord Park led chapel with a meditation on this year’s spiritual life theme – living in the light.
In John 1:4, Jesus is described as the “light of all people.” Yet in Matthew 5:14, Jesus tells his listeners that they are “the light of the world.”
What’s with that? Park asked. “Is Jesus confused?”
“You can’t make yourself the light of the world.” In 2 Cor. 4:6, Paul wrote that God “made his light shine in our hearts,” and in Philippians 2: 14 we are told that we can “shine like stars in the sky.”
Park lit a lantern and dimmed the lights.
“That is a picture of discipleship,” Park told students -- something both incredibly simple and incredibly beautiful. “Jesus, who is the light of world, recreates you and me to be the light of the world. We cannot create light in ourselves, but Jesus creates it in us.”
Any good that we do, any act of integrity, honesty or love, is not us, but Jesus shining within us, he said. When we use that light to have influence or bring goodness, “it’s Christ in you, coming out.”
With Christ’s light shining within us, we are no longer walking in darkness ourselves and other people can see Christ’s light in us too. We all shine differently, but our goal should be to surrender and get out of the way, so that Christ’s light can shine, he said.Park prayed a prayer of thanks for God’s word, for God’s light and for God’s love for each one of us. He prayed a blessing on Spiritual Emphasis Week and on our speaker, Laura de Jong.
“May your word land in our hearts and ignite a knowledge of how good and powerful you are,” Park prayed, “and may you be magnified in us so that your light shines out of our school.”
Chapel also featured a time of worship. A student praise team led in singing, "Holy -- Wedding Day," "Oceans -- Where Feet May Fail," and "Multiplied."
Park outlined some of the key features of Spiritual Emphasis Week 2016:
1) Daily Chapel – We will have chapel every morning at 9. Guests are always welcome. If you can’t make it but would like to keep in touch with what’s going on, follow the school blog. Updates will be provided daily.
2) Speaker – Our chapel speaker will be seminarian Laura de Jong. Laura is in her fourth and final year at Calvin Theological Seminary and is an alumna of Beacon Christian Secondary School.
3) Theme – The messages will be based on passages from the book of Jeremiah. Students are encouraged to bring their Bibles to chapel.
4) Prayer Room – Student volunteers are creating this year’s prayer room in the teachers’ lounge: more spacious, but still cozy.
5) The daily schedule will be messed up – In addition to chapel every morning there will be a time for discussion each day during period 3.
6) Praise teams – One of three student praise teams will lead in worship each day.
7) AV – Student members of the AV crew will be making sure everything looks and sounds the way it should.
8) Concert on Friday – Friday afternoon will feature a concert by FM Reset – an all-school event that replaces the former Girls and Guys Nights Out.
Laura de Jong grew up in St. Catharines, and attended Beacon Christian High School. She studied History, English, and Congregational Ministry Studies at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she also led worship and worked in residence life. Laura is finishing up her Masters of Divinity at Calvin Theological Seminary, and hopes to do church ministry after graduation. She's a staunch defender of all things Canadian, is enjoying finally learning how to cook, and believes next year belongs to the Blue Jays.