The Holsby class of 2013-14 is now history! May 29 was a holiday in Sweden – “Ascension Day” – but it was also a celebratory commencement day at Holsby under beautiful skies and a seasonably warm sun.
John Poysti opened our commencement gathering with a few words of greeting and encouragement. He remarked on how nice and neat everyone looked in comparison to the day of their arrival at Holsby nine months previous. After many hours of travel and jet lag, the arrival day “look” was in stark contrast to the commencement day “look.” But then John said that the contrast was not only an outward one, but an inner one as well. During this year, God had changed the students from the inside out, and that change too was very evident. And the Lord will keep on changing and forming us into the image of Christ. Just as Paul told the Philippians:
I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you
will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.
Students were together in their family groups as they received their diplomas. Inside the envelope was also a bookmark with a verse – chosen especially for each individual student by their group parents. Then one of the staff prayed over each group – that these young people would daily walk in trust and obedience and keep their focus on the Author and Perfecter of their faith!
Principal Luke Thomas gave a charge to the students from Acts 1:4-11 – the account of Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Using as a pattern that day so long ago, Luke challenged the students to:
- Find/make fellowship
- Keep talking to God, though you may not always get the answer you expect
- Live by the Spirit
- Go out and make disciples of all nations – an empowered task that will be empowering (make practical the impact of this school year on your life)
- Be physically present in people’s lives in meaningful ways
- Know that God will meet you in unexpected ways at unexpected times to “keep going”
- Remember Christ is coming back – we have a lot to look forward to because we’ve been given hope
Luke concluded by reminding them that though the physical environment will be changing for them, their spiritual environment is always the Lord Jesus – and HE is everywhere! BE that “aroma of Christ” in order to draw others to the Lord!
But thanks be to God,
who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession,
and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere.
For we are the aroma of Christ to God
among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,
to one a fragrance from death to death,
to the other a fragrance from life to life.
2 Corinthians 2:14-16
Cameras were plentiful on a day such as this. There are dear friends to be remembered and memories to be preserved. There was a lot of excitement as students, staff and visitors shared together in various ways – but lurking closely behind was the thought that “tomorrow” is the day of departure! We will never again be together like this until we meet in heaven! That is a wonderful hope!! In the meantime, there are many ways to continue to encourage one another at a distance, and times of reunion to which to look forward.
We all rounded off the day with a scrumptious barbecue in the Pavilion (thank you kitchen staff), and a round of Australian “bush dance” on the soccer field, led by Cloudy. One student commented: It was a great way to hang out with some we hadn’t spent so much time with during the school year.
God bless you all as you walk into the future of what HE has for you. Walk in obedience, trusting HIM for each step! HE is the Faithful One!!