Jesus commands each of his followers, “… Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). The question is, do we really know what it means to love our neighbours? During the last week of the school term, the staff and students at Southland Adventist Christian School were blessed by a Week of Worship which focused on this very topic: “Love Your Neigh-bour.” Throughout the week the students enjoyed the Farm themed decorations, with a 3-wheeler motorbike, and a 6 week old baby lamb to pet and feed each day. The focus of this week was to understand what it truly means to love each other, as Christ commanded His followers.
Special guest Miss Catherine Bradley, teacher at Gilson College in Melbourne loves to teach students about God’s creativity through the subject of art and spoke each day about what it means to be a loving neighbour. A Loving Neighbour encourages others, sows seeds of kindness to others, forgives others, uses their gifts to bless others, and most importantly – loves others! As each day went by, the students were challenged to implement each topic into their daily lives at school and at home.
A highlight for the week was watching the students put everything they had learnt into practice by sowing seeds of kindness through service at the local Waikiwi Kindergarten. The Junior room delivered fresh play-doh to the preschool and played with the children there, the middle room brought books and read to them, meanwhile the senior room helped clean up around the place. This was a great opportunity for the students to understand what it means to serve and love your neighbour.
The fun didn’t stop after the hour of worship each day. During lunchtime the students enjoyed various fun activities, such as a gumboot throwing competition, paper plane competition, and the opportunity to run around with and feed Dory the lamb. Each class was also given an activity to complete throughout the day which related back to the lesson from the morning.
It was a blessing to watch the pure joy and happiness on the students faces as they got involved in and embraced this worship experience. It truly was a blessing to be involved!
The message doesn’t just stop here with the school students. The challenge to “Love Your Neighbour” goes out to every parent, to every church, and most importantly to every Christian. Christ gave us the perfect example of what it means to be a loving and caring person. As disciples, and followers of Christ, we too have the same challenge that he gave his first disciples – to love one another. Will you take the challenge and become a light into this world?
-Pr Jonathon Gillard, Chaplin – Southland Adventist Christian School, Invercargill