This week, the Year 12 students are farewelled and sent on their individual journeys, ‘beyond’. Like many new beginnings, it is a celebration of what has been achieved and of what has been granted, a celebration of the milestone which marks an end and a new beginning. Like many new beginnings, it also is a daunting place of doubt and scariness, because it asks for courage to risk the next step into a yet unknown – and, thus, unexperienced – future.

When we celebrate, the ‘past’ is marked by the presence of all teachers and all students, Prep–Year 11, lining up to form the ‘Guard of Honour’. They are the community which the Year 12s have been part of during the important years of their school career. However, the future cannot be marked, yet. It still wants to be lived.

How dare we go there, find the courage to face what is yet unknown to us?

It is exciting, too – as we will be able to decide where to go from here, what to do next, how to shape and create the journey in our own, individual way that will be meaningful; for not only ourselves, but also for others.

It is a reflection not only for the Year 12s, but for everyone facing a new beginning; the diaries for 2019 are out and point to the dawn of a new year; others may grieve as they celebrate and farewell beloved ones, or close a certain chapter in their lives, facing new beginnings in their relationships with themselves and others.

May everyone notice the presence of the community and realise that they are not alone on their journey. May everyone hear the promise of the one who calls us from the ‘more beyond’ that we will be welcomed where we go, and blessed in what we do. May everyone discover their individual gifts which allow for a unique journey and contribution and learn to trust themselves and others by trusting the promise of the one who believes in us all.

This, my friends, is described as ‘Advent’, the season of waiting and reflecting, the season of hope and anticipation which – at an often unexpected time – grants an unexpected answer to one’s question, guidance and clarity for our next steps, a deeper sense of purpose and meaning. Advent turns into the season of celebration, when our deepest longings are met, our fears quelled and when we have learned to trust that we have been heard and are held in loving compassion by the one who comes. His name is ‘Immanuel’, the ‘God with us’ – wherever we are and whatever we do.

Go in peace, celebrate and keep listening to the quiet calling of the one who comes to you, who has been with you along the way and who is with you, now and always.

Silke Moolman, Indooroopilly Chaplain