Stirring Up

By Shelley Milligan, Assistant Head of School – Advancement

When I started working at Westminster in August 2014, one of my first observations about the school related to community. During that time, I told many people that I was starting a new job but quickly saw the hollowness of that phrase. I soon amended my thinking to a more accurate description of my transition: I was joining a new community.

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Westminster embodies the best of community: people drawn together for a common purpose – preparing students to engage the world and change it for Jesus Christ. It takes a little time for each of us to understand the culture of the community and how exactly the Lord wants to use us within it, which is why I’m so excited about the school’s theme verse for the 2015-16 school year: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).

The book of Hebrews makes me think of running races, great clouds of witnesses, great high priests, and long lineages of Biblical heroes. But Hebrews 10:24 has quickly become a favorite verse, especially as I think of the many ways in which the Westminster community has stirred me to love and good works.

Last week, I left the upper school office doors and began walking down the Grand Entry staircase with a group of 20-25 students toting black folders. I glanced at my phone to check the time, all of a sudden understanding why I felt so tired: mid-afternoon marks the time when I most want to nap! I shuffled down the stairs, walking toward the Business Office.

The students walked with me, laughing and talking amongst themselves as I asked myself what they were doing. They then formed a circle in the Grand Entry and opened their folders. Allen Schwamb stood in the center of their circle and began moving his arms. “They can’t be about to sing,” I told myself, looking around for their audience. The Grand Entry’s occupants at that time consisted of front desk folks, a few wanderers passing through, and me.

The 20 students opened their mouths, but the sound was one single rich tone. They sang acapella in a language I don’t understand, but the music immediately reached over and grabbed my heart, pointing me to Jesus, whose love transcends words. They were stirring up a sleepy soul in need of encouragement.

My day was instantly transformed. Isn’t it just like the Holy Spirit to interrupt an ordinary work day with a performance of such spontaneous glory that we can’t help but be pointed to Jesus? During their song, I kept thinking to myself, “No one is here to hear them!” and “I should go tell my colleagues to come out here!” Instead I surrendered and simply listened, and now, looking back, I wonder if that performance was only for me. Isn’t that just like the Lord? To arrange a private concert to stir me toward love and good works?

Not all of us are part of a choir that can sing someone’s soul to the Lord, but we have all been blessed to be a blessing. Westminster will spend this year looking for ways to stir one another to love and good works. Will you join us?