In Honor of today’s Upper School Epiphany Chapel, Mr. Brad Greer, Upper School Spanish Teacher, spoke on behalf of Luke Anderson, CCES Class of 2019, and this year’s recipient of the Epiphany Scholarship. Below are his prepared remarks.
I’m Señor Greer, and, for some of you, this is going to be the most that you’ve ever heard me speak in English! I am very pleased to be able to talk to you all today about this year’s recipient of the Epiphany Scholarship, Luke Anderson. Before I do, however, I’d like to talk about that word Epiphany for a moment, if you all don’t mind indulging this language teacher. The word Epiphany comes from the ancient Greek and literally means “Revelation.” Some of you may be familiar with its usage in that sense. In fact, during the two years that I taught Luke, he was not shy about sharing with me his numerous revelations, or epiphanies, about a wide range of topics from current events to politics to life in general, but I digress!
In the Christian Church, of course, Epiphany refers to what happened just a couple of Sundays ago on January 6th, when we celebrate the light of Christ coming into the world, a light that became God’s word made flesh. The description of the Epiphany Scholarship states that it was established to honor a student who exemplifies a commitment to Christian values through worship, sensitivity, and outreach to others and a personal manifestation of love of God and His people in his or her daily life here at school and in their church and the broader community. Frankly, I can think of no one more deserving of this recognition than Luke, a young man deeply committed to his Christian faith. Now, it would be easy to quickly move past this statement, but I’d like to underline just how significant and admirable it is to see someone of Luke’s young age so devoted to the teachings and the tenants of Christianity. I am reminded of a famous quote about Christianity by GK Chesterton when he stated, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” Luke has not been one to shy away from the challenging tasks that God asks of each and every one of us.
Now, some of you may only know Luke from his highly esteemed position as President of the Board Game Club (it is President, right?) in which he stands here every week and extends an invitation to attend their meetings accompanied by some of the corniest jokes in the world! However, you may also recall that, alongside many of those announcements, Luke has also extended an almost weekly invitation to all of you to attend a Bible study in my room, or as he puts it, in “senior Greer’s room.” Yes, with every announcement Luke promotes me to senior citizen status. It's señor Greer, Luke! Señor! But, in addition to being known for corny jokes and occasional stumblings with the pronunciation of the Spanish language, Luke is also known to be a person of impeccable character, high integrity, and dependable nature. I have seen these attributes first-hand. I first met Luke when he was a freshman and was impressed with his work ethic and maturity in my class for the entirety of the two years that I taught him. But, it was what happened last year, when Luke was a junior, that I really want to highlight today.
As you know, our community spent last year without a Senior Chaplain; and, along with all of the ripple effects that a vacancy in such an important position creates, Luke identified one in particular that he did not want to see neglected. In the past, previous Senior Chaplains had conducted a weekly Bible study in the Upper School, and so Luke approached Ms. Valerie about starting one. The previous summer Luke had taken a Spirituality and Ethics class with Ms. Valerie, and, in her words, he was the one in the class who would always drive the conversations deeper, ever inquisitive and desirous of knowing more. This experience led him to want to continue his faith journey here at school, in the bulk of his daily life, and not just neatly scheduled for an hour each Sunday at First Presbyterian, where he is an extremely active and involved member! Soon after, I agreed that the group could meet in my room (Tuesdays at lunch! How’s that for a shameless plug!), and we commenced our small gatherings. After only a couple of weeks of Ms. Valerie and I leading some sessions, and with a little gentle encouragement from us, Luke volunteered to lead the devotional and would continue to do so throughout the year. In short, he saw a need, and he stepped up. In a complete role reversal, Luke’s insights on scripture taught me. That happened again just yesterday. In fact, at times, we had more faculty members than students at some of these sessions. It was during these times that I witnessed a young man yearning to deepen his relationship with his Creator, seeking Christ and serving Christ in others. In other words, manifesting the light that Jesus himself brought into the world.
The other day when Father Wallace contacted me about speaking for Luke, I thought of a favorite poem of mine that reminded me of Luke. So, if I can borrow a page from Father Wallace’s sermon playbook and take advantage of this captive audience, I’d like to read it to you. It’s by Saxon Kessinger, and it’s called, “The Indispensable Man.”
Sometime when you’re feeling important;
Sometime when your ego’s in bloom;
Sometime when you take it for granted,
You’re the best qualified in the room:
Sometime when you feel that your going,
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions,
And see how they humble your soul.
Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining,
Is a measure of how much you’ll be missed.
You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you’ll find that in no time,
It looks quite the same as before.
The moral of this quaint example,
Is to do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There’s no indispensable man.
If I haven’t lost you yet, you may be asking yourself why in the world I chose to read that poem. After all, I’m supposed to be saying nice things about Luke, and I just read a poem that basically said he’s not indispensable and neither are any of us. This poem from the last century, were it written today, might not be very well received. To me, this poem speaks of something that’s not respected and in short supply these days: humility. We need only to look at the latest self-aggrandizing tweet or the most recent personal press conference accompanied by a photo posted on the Gram! (I think I said that right; I think that’s the right lingo!) Humility: wisdom’s cousin. Humility, the word coming from the Latin humilis “lowly,” literally “on the ground,” from humus “earth.” Wisdom is a humble “under-standing” about life. And so today, Luke, we honor you for being one among us who walks humbly, who seeks wisdom from above, and who answers the call to be a light in a world that desperately needs it.