Hopefully all are returning from Christmas vacation after taking time to be refreshed, but also having time to reflect and remember the essence of the Christmas message – God’s caring enough to share His Son, an inestimable love.
The first semester is about to come to a close, and from my perspective UCA has entered the New Year with awesome evidence of God’s presence and provision. We begin the next semester with new students, and will soon hear the many ways the difficult decisions made through hours of prayer and thought by the Board last year have resulted in improved fiscal stability and renewed enthusiasm by our UCA family about the importance of a Godly education available at UCA.
I’ve been preparing presentations and sermons that highlight God’s handiwork at UCA, as we mold and mentor Christian disciples who are academically strong, work hard, and desire to become Godly witnesses. Reading Deuteronomy 6, one hears about Israel guided and sustained by God as they left Egypt into the land He promised. They are warned to follow His commands, given not as burdens or constraints, but for their benefit as boundaries to enhance their mind, body, and soul as they settled in this new land.
One of God's statements struck me; one that should alert Christians, especially those who live in the midst of a culture that is disinterested at best in God’s revealed Son. God instructed His people to keep the commandments, to teach them to their children, and to model them daily. But He also understood human nature enough to be concerned that future generations enjoying the fruits of His provision in the new land would forget how these benefits came to them. “When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (v. 10-12).
It is too easy to forget that all blessings in life, despite our hard work and effort, are gifts from God, from our forbearers, from our families, or elsewhere. God has made us. God has placed us in the time, place, and family we enjoy. God provides the intricacies of our natural world from which we gain sustenance. Israel, an agrarian culture, could easily slip into forgetting that they may have planted and watered, but the entire system from which they received sustenance came from God, as well as their predecessors. Remember our Theme Scripture – the cloud of witnesses?
We are so blessed by those who have invested so much in UCA, from the beginning as well as recent years. Donations often came from people who may not have had children attending but saw the value of teaching the next generation about God’s love. Our role at UCA is not only to teach academic subjects, but also to mentor, guide, and remind one another who and whose we are – a people of God called to live holy (set apart) lives. What a blessing to see God at work as we enter the new year. God’s exhortation to Israel is one we must take seriously. Praise God!
Rev. J. Loring Carpenter Interim Head of School