Welcome to the start of a new year! What a relief it is to be starting 2023 with a normal rhythm again.
The start of the year sees many schools holding installation services. So why do we have installations in Lutheran schools? I spent 30 years of my working life in secular working environments. I was always in Christ’s service in those places too but in different ways. When I was installed into this role, it was amazing to me that I was able to make a vow of service to God out loud in front of others as part of my working life. Doing that could get you sacked in some other workplaces. In Lutheran education we are free to share the word of God and with that freedom comes the responsibility to speak the gospel out loud.
Installation is strongly connected to our understanding of vocation. God works through everyone, whether they know it or not. The Holy Spirit calls us to keep our eyes on Christ and follow him in our work. Therefore, everyone is living out their vocations all the time, as part of God’s ongoing creation of every day in the smallest and biggest of actions. All work (paid or unpaid) matters, it is from God, and everyone matters as loved creatures of God, because of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes there are the splashes of red at installations. Lutherans value art and music and colour as part of church life. Specific colours in worship may be ritual, not for ritual’s sake, but for ritual reminder. Colour jogs memory and connection. Red is associated with the Holy Spirit who calls us to our vocations so it is commonly seen at installation services. It might be the stole around the neck if the pastor is robed, a red tie, check shirt or even a pair of red shoes. Red reminds us that Lutheran schools and early childhood services are communities that are called, gathered together, taught and made holy by the Holy Spirit, who invites and equips us for lives of worship, learning and service.