Kenosis

8 November 2017

James SlomanIn Christian theology, ‘kenosis’ is defined as the self-emptying of one’s own will and becoming entirely receptive to God’s divine will. The word ‘kenosis’ has entered theological language from Philippians 2:7, where it says “Jesus made
himself nothing…and he emptied himself”. John the Baptist displayed this attitude when he said of Jesus, “He must become greater; I must become less.”

The kenotic ethic is the ethic of Jesus, considered as the ethic of sacrifice. The Philippians passage urges believers to imitate Christ’s self-emptying and to sacrifice themselves in service of others. This interpretation is a call for us to put the needs of others ahead of ourselves. Self-emptying or kenosis is an act of love – an enlargement of the heart – an extension of our person towards the person of others. Self-emptying is about looking beyond ourselves. It is not about the loss of self but the gaining of a true self.

Kenosis is an important principle in our college culture. The attribute of self-emptying and looking beyond ourselves has emerged during the recent consultation process with parents and staff where we are seeking to define the key desired attributes of a Moreton Bay College graduate. The concepts of selflessness, sacrifice and service are values we hold very close to our hearts here at Moreton Bay College.

As a college, we place great value on the notion that our children should engage in service learning – actively becoming part of the broader community and contributing something bigger and greater than themselves. We acknowledge the value that comes when learning objectives are coupled with community service. We therefore seek to provide practical learning experiences which meet societal needs via our service learning approach.

In our community, kenosis is often represented via volunteer work. I see this in teaching and coaching staff when they willingly coach and supervise children in co-curricular activities. This contribution is often honorary and voluntary and is a fine example of kenosis.

Similarly, kenosis is demonstrated by many of our parents and community members. These people selflessly volunteer
on numerous committees, coach and supervise at different sporting activities, or give their time in classrooms and at numerous other events on our busy College calendar.

What you may not realise is that when we do leave our families to attend these various committee meetings or events, we are in fact modeling the very values we hold dear – selflessness, sacrifice and service. We are demonstrating to our children that service is important.

Each school year hundreds of parents and guardians actively contribute to our service culture via kenosis. As a college we will be thanking these members of our community at an evening to acknowledge how valued their contribution truly is. Invitations will be distributed in the coming weeks to these community members.

With only a few short weeks until the end of the school year for 2017 and in the lead up to Christmas, the concepts of selflessness, sacrifice and service become more important than ever. I encourage you to take a moment with your children to discuss these values.

Enjoy the remaining weeks, and I look forward to seeing you at some of the numerous College events scheduled during
this period.

James Sloman
Executive Principal

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