Education Sunday

A Message from The Rt. Rev. Robert Thompson
Suffragan Bishop of Kingston & Canonical Administrator

Bishop Thompson - Gives his report on JCMSSunday, September 11, 2016, is Education Sunday. In Luke’s gospel, chapter 15, Jesus speaks to the experience of where our world is today. A world filled with people who are lost. We know the story of the lost sheep and the shepherd who searches out the poor creature, finds it and returns rejoicing. The story tells of the length to which God will go to find us and bring us home. The emphasis is not on the things we do to find God, but on God’s initiative in finding us.

You could have a loved one who is lost right now and it is great comfort that God cares about those who have gone astray. What a wonderful story for us to ponder on this Education Sunday. Every teacher knows something about the sacrifices it takes to rescue the wayward child. Quoting Jesse Jackson when a couple years ago he was asked to state his reasons for supporting a group of challenged persons, he said: “You must really love people the most when they need it the most. People don’t need much love when they have got a tail wind blowing. They need love when they are facing head winds and cross winds.”

Every wise and discerning parent and teacher knows the extent to which special attention is needed for the slow learner. It is not that one child is more loved than the other. Neither is anyone more precious than the other, but love has a way of bending itself towards those in greatest need, and will at times go to extraordinary lengths to express that bias. It may appear unfair, but in the end it is the only thing that will rescue the one who sees no way out.

Just when we feel we were getting somewhere with an unlikely contender for assistance, this person could get into some trouble with the law. Teachers and those involved in mentoring the young need therefore to ask – would the shepherd in our text decide that because the sheep might one day run away and get lost anyway, we should think twice about getting involved? That question would never arise with the shepherds, because they are about rescuing. The very psyche of the shepherd is defined by what he does – namely rescuing the lost. The one who lays down his life for the sheep is not defined by one rescue attempt. Sheep have a tendency to do dumb things and continue repeating the same mistakes. Which is why they require a shepherd. And it is precisely what the youth in our country need desperately today from exemplary teachers and mentors. There is rejoicing in Heaven, and we are invited to join in, because one of God’s lost children has been rescued in order to travel by another way.

+Rt. Rev. Robert Thompson
Suffragan Bishop of Kingston & Canonical Administrator

Please click here for the full text of Bishop Thompson’s Education Sunday Sermon.

Editor’s Note: Education Sunday is an ecumenical day of prayer and celebration for persons in the field of education. For more than 100 years, there has been an annual recognition of Education Sunday in England and Wales (traditionally on the ninth Sunday before Easter) and, in recent years, it has also been observed in the Diocese of Jamaica & The Cayman Islands. As of 2016, the celebration has been shifted to the second Sunday of September, to coincide with the start of the new school year.

Education Sunday in the United Kingdom is promoted by an ecumenical steering group comprising:

The Association of Christian Teachers
The Baptist Union
The Roman Catholic Church
The Church of England National Society
The Methodist Church
The Student Christian Movement
The Salvation Army
The United Reformed Church

The 2016 theme is All are Welcome.