A Thought from the Chaplain

Take a few moments to consider and reflect upon these thoughts from our Chaplain, Revd Mark Nightingale.

Friday 20th September 2019

Some might say I would get a comeuppance due to the marlakey I attempted to bloviate, but that was farcical! I could have had a pratfall, I did fear a kerfuffle but all I got was a bumfuzzled flight attendant and at first she appeared ornery, but then another attendant stepped in and was really doozy and fastidious in her labour.

There was no cattywampus and she did not lallygag at all. I did not give her a taradiddle or indeed a donnybrook; my approach was not cantankerous, nor was it cockamamie. Instead I was polite and with a smile on my chevy chase I told her the truth and tickety split everyone was tickety boo and I could stay in the seat next to my friend who I bumped into on the flight.

A true story from last week that is totally understandable, or maybe not! Often the words we use can be utterly confusing and nonsensical! What is a taradiddle, can you be doozy and is there such a word as cattywampus? (I do have a friend who uses it!)

Last week in Chapel Mr. Newitt told us about William Tyndall who was executed in 1536 for translating the Bible into English. However, within four years of his death his translation was being read throughout the english speaking world and, as a result the phrases he created to help us understand the Bible more clearly crept into our everyday language.

Phrases such as having a cross to bear, a fly in the ointment, a labour of love, a man after my own heart, a leopard cannot change his spots, peace offering, sign of the times, wolf in sheep’s clothing and baptism of fire. In total we still use over 120 of Tyndall’s biblical phrases highlighting that what we say and how we say affect our everyday lives for a long period of time.

This week’s Chapel theme has been taken from the second chapter of Philippians. St. Paul writes in the opening four verses about having a team spirit and how we can be like-minded. We can create team spirit in many ways, but I would like to suggest words play an important part of the creation of like mindedness and ethos. That is because they can be used in a positive manner to create good things, but they can also be used in a negative way to tear down what we have created. They can also be used to express clarity, but sometimes confusion, just look at my opening two paragraphs if you do not believe me. So as the term progresses, the school community is being encouraged to carry on building a team spirit based on our Christian ethos, and one of our first tasks this year is to work on using words that build up, affirm, care, love, rebuild and forgive. Hopefully creating a stronger togetherness and culture of honour amongst our school community.

I hope you can join us in this and I also hope you liked my doozy opening, come and find me if it baffled you!

Friday 13th September 2019

In Chapel at the start of this new term we are looking again at what makes Shebbear such a great school and we have started by looking at our school song.

It comes from a poem written in 23 BC by the poet Horace. He addresses it to his friend Aristius Fuscus and talks of attempting to live an honest and upright life whilst choosing to love those around us through the ups and downs of life.

Some will say it is easy to live well when times are good, but when faced with adversity can we still be upright, even loving others by putting them before ourselves?

Horace describes this in the first and last verse of his ode which make up the two verses of our song …

The person, whole and upright in life, unstained from crime,
Does not need a spear, or bow
The full quiver, or the poisoned arrow, Fuscus
Put me beneath the burning sun, in a land denied to us the human race
Even then, (through all that death and hardship) I will love my Lalage (his wife) who sweetly laughs and sweetly speaks.

These verses implore us to live well, being full of honesty, respect and upright in nature, encouraging us to learn the skill, in both good and bad times to laugh and love whatever the weather. This theme is echoed throughout the history of our school and indeed Methodism and it is something I, the Head and all the staff look forward to seeing in all of our pupils throughout this academic year.