Mission Report – April 27, 2017

April 26, 2017

-I am the resurrection and the life. – Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?- (John 11:25-26)

Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.- (Romans 6:4)

May all the joy of this Easter Season fill our hearts.

At our Anzac Day Assembly this week we were offered a great gift. Old Collegian Mr Laurie Larmer spoke intimately with us about his experience as a bomber pilot over Germany in World War II. I cannot convey the power and depth of Laurie’s words, but wish to offer one point for reflection.

Laurie spoke plainly about the fact that his actions killed people; a fact he could not speak about with his family until a few years ago. After years of trying to forget his experiences Laurie chose to write an apology to the towns that he had bombed. They were simple letters and he did not expect a reply. However, he received many replies expressing deep gratitude for his contrition. His letters were being read at schools, and brought healing for many even after so many years. They did not condemn him for -‘doing his job’ in fighting the evil of Nazism. They valued that their humanity and suffering was acknowledged by their combatant. This brought Laurie a peace that his heart has been yearning for.

There is an ancient tradition that warfare should only be conducted -‘up and close and personal’. If, after seeing the eyes of your enemy, hearing their voice and the sound of their cries, you still wish to pursue war, then know it is another person and not just an idea you are fighting. Bombers, tanks and now drones conduct their violence and damage at impersonal distance.- However, the violent act first requires the perpetrator to violate their own dignity and inflict that on others. In this way even at a distance the violence is truly personal. Laurie transformed the impersonal nature of violence with the courageous and personal act of asking for forgiveness. Laurie invited us into the victory of Jesus at Easter.

As a Catholic school we are still enjoying the grace of the Easter Season. But we can still hear the Passion narrative of Good Friday in our ears, where Jesus brought the call to love -‘up close and personal’ to those who rejected his message. When his message was brutally denied, but still they demanded answers of Jesus, he replied that they should speak with those who had been daily listening to him -“ hear their story of conversion. Laurie echoed this in his call to us to be active for justice and peace in our world. He pleaded with us to make life personal and rise to take on the challenges of our times. What we experienced in Laurie was the Easter story. Our response was the only standing ovation in the living memory of the College. The joy of the Resurrection that was the courage and hope of the Apostles brought us to our feet.