When I was in the tenth grade, the neighbors next door went to a “theme wedding.” It was strange to see my friend in a pink medieval style dress with a ribbon braided through her hair. It was stranger still to see her father, who I was used to seeing in shorts and a t-shirt for yard work, wearing a monk’s robe. A thick rope wrapped around his waist was tied in a knot. He wore a fake bald headpiece to that Renaissance wedding.
Theme weddings are still a strange idea to me, but I understand there is something exciting about putting on clothes or attitudes that are unlike the ones we wear normally. Costumes give us a chance to explore something of ourselves that we might not expose in the mundane of our daily lives. Dressing up in something new allows us to think intentionally about some part of us that we might not think about regularly.
Dressing up for a theme party is too frivolous to be a good metaphor for our spiritual themes at Eastern Christian Schools, but the intentionality that is a part of adopting new perspectives and behaviors is exactly what our spiritual theme each year is all about.
Far more than just a thing we “put on” for a day or a year, our annual theme gives us the ability to actually add a new way of wearing our faith to our spiritual wardrobe. Through this theme, our whole community, Pre-K to 12, focuses on a particular aspect of living in God’s Kingdom. Some years our focus may be related to our actions, like “Trust in the Lord” or “Whatever You Do, Do it for God.” This year, our theme “In His Image” reminds us of who we are and what that means for us and for others.
Having a theme allows our community to enjoy deeper relationships as a school. It invites us to connect intentionally with common ground between campuses in our chapel services. Our ECES students can bring their drama performances to ECHS and our high school worship teams can lead our ECMS students in worship. Younger and older siblings spread out across our schools can explore the unique, age appropriate ways their campuses are addressing the truths we’re exploring about our identity in Christ. Together, we can share worship songs, images, and a common memory verse that unite our search for truth in God.
Our cross-campus team of chapel planners and principals who prepare our spiritual theme recognizes the impact this work has on our community. We know that we, like our students, will be marked the focus we choose. Every teacher, parent, and guest who sits in our chapel services and walks our halls will be reminded that we are unique creations, the very image-bearers of God, carrying the unfathomable fingerprints of His glory in us. We’ll be challenged to see that in ourselves, to see that in others, and to recognize again the magnitude and majesty of the One we serve and adore. As we “put on” this reminder daily and “wear” it throughout the year, we know we will be changed forever and see our world transformed.
“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.”