13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.”

14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

In the wake of the recent tragedy at Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida, Year 8 English students considered what it means to be salt and light in times of crisis. Inspired by the verse from Matthew 5:13-16, students wrote letters of love and support to the school community in Parkland, Florida. Though we live in a broken world, let us not forget the hope we have in Jesus Christ, the comfort of the Holy Spirit and the peace of God that passes all understanding.

The students at Charlton Christian College never cease to amaze us. The way they care for others, demonstrating a genuine compassion for the needs of a hurting world. Sometimes this is through grand gestures like mission trips or serving through leadership, but most often it is in the way they respond to the everydayness of scraped knees and growing pains.

The responses of our Year 8 students have touched my heart. I’m sure they will touch yours too. Thank you to Tom Kristofferson for generously sharing his letter with the Charlton community.

A word of encouragement to our young people: 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).

We are proud of you!

From Mrs Perrim and Mrs Marin

Dear Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,

I have no words to express how deeply sorry I am for your losses, whether they be a close friend, a teacher, a coach or a loved family member. I have been contemplating what to write in this letter and have found it extremely difficult to write. I was filled with despair, horror and anger as I heard and witnessed visual footage of what you all had to endure. My prayers and thoughts are with you through this traumatic time.

My church’s current, weekly and monthly prayers of healing will also go to those students and their families who were injured and are recovering in hospital and at home. My hope is for continued healing and strength to mend the physical injuries received.

Even though this incident happened in a few moments, it will leave wounds for every. Everyone needs time to process the immensity of what has occurred at your school. My hope for you all is to be able to go to school and have no feelings of anxiety and to recreate the sensation of confidence and security during your school day.

When I need to persevere through a tough time, I usually pray to God. This is the prayer I use: the same passage whether it was a joyous or more sombre situation. I want to pass this passage on to you as you endure this particular ‘season,’ every day. ‘May the Lord bless you and keep you; may His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may He give you His peace and hold you in the palm of His hand.’

Please accept my small offering on these paper people representing everyone around the world giving you a global warm hug and holding you all by the palms of your hands.