I really enjoyed the recent Old Boys’ Dinner. It had a mellow gentleness without too much tub thumping. All of the speeches contributed to this atmosphere. They were about people and the enjoyment of friendship.
With increasing aplomb and characteristic dry humour, School Captain, Chris Anderson, spoke of friendship across the generations of old Collegians. The ‘kindred’ societies, kindred being a good word in this context, were thanked for the friendships they provided across tribal divides. The Principal spoke of boys recently introduced to the Scotch environment, especially the Tiwi Islanders and the potential of friendships across that geographic and racial distance. The guest of honour, his Excellency the Governor of Victoria, John Landy, spoke of friendships across the world which had grown beyond their genesis in shared sporting competition.
I enjoyed brief interactions with numerous old boys and former staff. It was especially good to meet up with the Rev Archie Crow (’38), my predecessor and mentor at Scotch. My highlight was James Gallacher (’90). He came alongside at my table to show me digital images of his recently born twins (pictured right). James is happily married and thrilled to be a parent. I met James when, as a student, he was battling with Cystic Fibrosis. Of course, he still is. His mates told me his wife is a fantastic person. Well I didn’t meet her, but the delight on James’ face when speaking of her made it clear that they were right.
Recently in Assembly we were reminded by the Rev Grant Watson that ‘the Bible frequently describes the relationship between God and human beings as a friendship. God also has a strong desire for relationship, for friendship and as incredible as it may seem, in order to find the friendship that God desires, God looks to us! Amazingly, the Creator of the universe wants to be friends with you and me! Think about that for a moment… God wants to be your friend!’
One of the themes of the Bible’s ‘wisdom’ literature is ‘friends’. In Proverbs we read ‘A man of many companions may come to ruin/but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.’ (18:24 NIV)
Some suggest the friend closer than a brother is a wife. Surely one’s life-partner would possess friendship of enduring quality? I am currently reading Bono on Bono by Michka Assayas. Bono talks candidly about his difficult relationship with his father and the importance of his friendship with Ali his wife.
He clearly also values the candour of his long term friendships with The Edge, Larry and Adam within the band (need I say U2?) Good friendships mirror the qualities God wants in relation to us. ‘Not a casual acquaintance but a close, trusting relationship. God deeply desires that we know him, that we share our lives with him, that we surrender ourselves to his way of life, to his guidance and support. As much as God desires friendship however, God will never force this relationship. To form a friendship with God is our choice. God is always ready to welcome a new friend but the choice to begin such a friendship is ours alone.’ (Rev Watson)Some of us began that relationship a long time ago. If it has lapsed it can be rekindled – just as the old boys rekindle friendships. Is it time for that reunion? Call me if I can help.
Scotch College: ABN 86 852 826 445 ACN 005 650 395 CRICOS 00624A (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students)