“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” – Romans 12:10
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3
We have probably all heard the expression, “The honeymoon is over!” in reference to that time in a relationship, whether personal or professional, when the grand expectations we have for the other person in the relationship are missed, and their less appealing qualities are laid bare, much to our dismay. Since the advent of romantic marriage in the 18th century, the promises of the bliss of marriage have never been fulfilled by the reality of two deeply flawed people continually stepping on each other’s toes. The toes are often already bruised by the end of the honeymoon.
Why are we talking about marriage and honeymoons? As we continue to consider the elements of the Capstone Community Covenant, I want us to linger a moment on the word covenant. From its Latin origin to present day, it has been synonymous with agreement, but it connotes a deeper, spiritual essence when used in a Christian context. We use it in weddings rather than the word contract. The financial contracts signed by Capstone parents, administrators, and employees, are sacred because they express the Christ-bought commitment of fellow believers to one another and are a witness to Christ’s goodness and faithfulness.
I believe we all take seriously our covenant commitment to respect the parent’s sovereign role and the teacher’s good intentions—and our commitment to treat one another as allies rather than adversaries. I believed this before the school year commenced based simply upon the assumption of good faith when we all signed up for this ongoing ministry. I believe it now because I’ve seen it in action.
How have I seen it in action? Well, I’ve seen it because the honeymoon is over. Teachers have spoken clumsy or ill-advised words in the classroom and to parents in emails. Parents who were regularly on time to school in September are now regularly late. Administrators who were friendlier in November have begun to appear distracted and are not available like they used to be. In spite of the flaws and sins that have predictably surfaced, our community is still marked by faith, hope, love, and grace. We still speak admirably about one another and share the good news of what God has done in our school. I’ve seen sin, repentance, grace, forgiveness, redemption, and growth not in spite of our failings but because of them. When we’ve stepped on one another’s toes, we’ve sought to better understand the dance and the nuances of those with whom we are dancing. This response to one another’s failings has nurtured our mutual respect and love.
I am greatly encouraged by the brotherly affection and honor you have shown to each other this school year. You have chosen to humble yourselves for the good of one another. God is glorified and smiles upon your mutual concern for each other expressed in prayers, words of grace and affirmation, and acts of service. These have been rendered not because we’ve all been perfect for each other but rather because you have fulfilled the call to mutual respect within the Capstone Community Covenant, which is rooted in the commands of Christ. May the God of love and peace be with you all.