Over 100 years ago, a great Christian poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, in his poem “Pied Beauty” wrote, “Glory be to God for dappled things . . . All things counter, original, spare, strange”. Hopkins was celebrating difference because God was the author and creator of difference, diversity — a pied universe. God did not want to work only in primary colors — rather he loved running the colors together and sprinkling diverse patterns on them. The unity we feel in Christ is an internal unity, a unity of Spirit, not an external unity of race or language or nationality. As Paul says to the Galatians, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26-28). In the Christian Church we may celebrate our external diversities while holding fast to our unity in the faith, hope, and love of Jesus.
During the six weeks between Christmas and Winter Break, CCA has several opportunities to celebrate our diversity. This past Wednesday we enjoyed a Rhetoric School Chapel organized around the work and message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Rhetoric School worship band led us in a series of spirituals including “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” Miss Catherine Hawkins sang a beautiful solo “Sometimes I Fell Like a Motherless Child,” and Mrs. Church gave the devotional thought. Several students from the Logic School and the Rhetoric School read segments of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” We thought together about what it means to stand for justice in an unjust world. It was an edifying and uplifting time of worship.
On Friday, February 3, our community comes together again to celebrate our diversity at the International Festival. Our Global Community Prefect, Yasmin Simoes, is working hard to invite every member of our community to come, including our 10 Chinese international students. Please mark your calendars and make it a priority to come to this event — either to participate and sponsor a table celebrating a particular country, or to enjoy the great food, talent, and beautiful costumes from around the world. Last year our cafeteria was so packed that we have decided to move the Festival to the gym this year. I’m sure you will be encouraged by the many people from different parts of the world (or with different heritages) that have come together to celebrate our colorful differences as well as our unity in Christ.
In a time when a political landscape is not as welcoming to the marginalized or the immigrant, I hope our CCA community can continue to live out the scriptural mandate to welcome and care for the marginalized. The Bible says, “Long ago I gave these commands to my people: ‘You must see that justice is done, and must show kindness and mercy to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners who live among you, or anyone else in need. (Zechariah 7:9).” Help us lift the banner of Jesus Christ high at CCA even as we celebrate the wondrous diversity he has created in His people.
By Mr. David Church, Principal of the Upper School of Logic and Rhetoric