I am currently reading a book called ‘Where the seasons come and go’ written by Eric Bonython who was born in 1910 and orphaned when he was four. After being brought up by his grandparents and finishing his schooling at Queens School (today Pulteney Grammar), he worked for a cousin on Avondale station in northern South Australia. Much of his life was spent exploring and researching the history of the far north of South Australia and south west Queensland.
So why is this book of interest? – it covers amongst other things to story of the establishment of the Lutheran mission at Killalpininna for the Dieri first nation people. This location referred to Bethesda Mission (House of Mercy) was situated along the Birdsville Track. The mission began is 1867 and closed in 1917. Kopperamunna was a nearby mission outstation.
The author’s fascinating research about the Lutheran mission interwoven into a story of the inland is very much about seasons coming and going.
Water very much determined the viability of agricultural enterprise in any given year. Extended drought conditions meant pastoralists adapting practice to ensure sustainability of their enterprise. Sheep farming was scaled back with the introduction of cattle. Cereal farming decreased and natural vegetation was reintroduced as a sustainable food source for cattle.
The Lutheran mission strived to maintain economic viability in harsh drought times to support the Dieri people through creating alternate sources of income and applying for government grants.
The mission leaders needed to be adaptive to the circumstances they confronted, gain the trust of the Dieri people and also give confidence to the ‘mission board authorities’ that they were meeting their expectations – both missional and financial.
I see many parallels to us in our respective roles in Lutheran education today.
We are in a season of uncertainty at this time. With passion and commitment to our cause, having a firm understanding of our purpose and a capacity to be able to adapt and be agile in response to circumstances, we will not just survive, we can thrive.
The author of Ecclesiastes (in chapter 3) fittingly shared that … Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses…
2 He sets the time for birth and the time for death,
the time for planting and the time for pulling up,
3 the time for killing and the time for healing,
the time for tearing down and the time for building.
4 He sets the time for sorrow and the time for joy,
the time for mourning and the time for dancing,
5 the time for making love and the time for not making love,
the time for kissing and the time for not kissing.
6 He sets the time for finding and the time for losing,
the time for saving and the time for throwing away,
7 the time for tearing and the time for mending,
the time for silence and the time for talk.
8 He sets the time for love and the time for hate,
the time for war and the time for peace.
9 What do we gain from all our work? 10 I know the heavy burdens that God has laid on us. 11 He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does. 12 So I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. 13 All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God’s gift.
14 I know that everything God does will last forever. You can’t add anything to it or take anything away from it. And one thing God does is to make us stand in awe of him.
As we reflect on the season of the past four months and the celebrations and the challenges experienced may we see the hand of God in all things. So now as we make plans for the future, we can do so with confidence that God will not abandon us but will journey with us in this ‘new season’.
May you experience God’s grace and peace as the semester draws to a close.