Hear from Deborah Colvin as she deliberates on Student Sunday.
I’ve just discovered that the third Sunday in February has been designated Student Sunday since 1898, making it one of the oldest ‘special’ Sundays in the calendar. This is late in the day for me, considering I’ve been a teacher for the past 30 years. Nevertheless, I offer belated honour and respect to every student – those for whom formal learning is a primary identity or stage of life, and all the rest of us engaging with life’s learnings, however they find us. And whoever knows what the learning is going to be until it’s happening!
For example, by chance last week I was catapulted out of my comfort zone and into a seat at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane to see ‘Frozen: the Musical’. I would not have sought out this experience. I was somehow kidnapped by agents of change, and suddenly there I was, tightly packed in with two little girls and their gran. They were unknown to me before I landed in my seat way, way up high, but we quickly became a sort of audience-unit, with one child tucked up against me, packet of sweets open on our shared chair-arm, conversation flowing. I really didn’t know the story beforehand apart from a vague appreciation that the song ‘Let it Go’ is about expressing your superpower, but I left the show with a whole new take on the mutuality and saving power of love – in this instance between sisters.
It’s been said that inquiry is an icon of God. So a student-heart and exploratory attitude paradoxically sets us on the road to both more knowing and the ineffable. And once on the road, there is the sustained application required for deep inquiry. St James’s Music Scholars remind me of this each week when they sing and play beautiful music for us, sharing the fruits of many years of commitment to excellence in their art. In turn, they gain experience and learn more about liturgical music. This Student Sunday they will sing a Ralph Vaughan Williams arrangement of ‘Deck Thyself, My Soul with Gladness’. I’m looking forward to their company on the road.