When asked to reflect on her two weeks at Casady Service-Learning, Sarah provided A Theologian’s Perspective on Casady School.
"I am a firm believer that we cannot separate our souls from our bodies and our bodies from our souls. Thus, we cannot care for just one because the other will suffer and perhaps die. Human beings must nurture each, and vigorously, in order to thrive! What is most encouraging to me in my brief time at Casady School is that the school seeks to do just that – develop the body and the soul.
Or perhaps we should just call the body and the soul combination simply - the human being.
The Episcopal spirit of the School is fully alive and the center and start to everyday at Casady. As an aspiring priest, I appreciate very much that each day begins in community in the chapel, in stillness and in prayer. And no matter one’s faith tradition or lack thereof, I think it’s important to have moments of quiet reflection and a gathering of one’s thoughts before the day begins. And in almost all faith traditions, the communal ritual of coming together in one sacred place reminds us that we are not alone, we need each other, and we are for each other.
Students have insanely busy schedules like most high school students, between sports, choir, drama, debate and a myriad of other extra-curricular activities. But what makes these students even more equip to go out into the real world is the community service requirements. The service learning requirement is not just a bodily volunteer activity where students fill needs in the community, although that is an important aspect of “boots on the ground” type work. What service learning tries to garner in each young human being is the capacity to empathize and to care for one’s fellow human being. It’s a spirit thing, a soul thing, or more precisely a matter of the heart.
This is a difficult value to instill in young people but it is, I believe, especially as a Christian, of extreme importance. Caring for one’s community and one’s fellow human is central to the gospel message and is easily a basic value to our Muslim and Jewish brothers and sisters. At Casady School, as I am learning, we practice this basic value in all of our practices. Even at lunch, we sit “family style” together at tables and share “family portions” of food as they are passed around.
Students probably don’t have the time to stop and think how significant it is that they are serving one another and helping nourish each other’s bodies so that they can go out in the world and help nourish others, too. In the same way, when Fr. Blizzard or Fr. Youmans shares the communion bread and cup. God’s body and God’s spirit through God’s blood enter into God’s people so we can be fed spiritually and bodily – holistically.
This is a special place, Casady School. Kids get to be immersed in a different model of communal life and learning that shapes their whole beings. Whether they know it or not, I hope one day they will look back on their time, like I have, and realize how purposeful, meaningful and formative these years really were to their whole life and their whole person.
I am thankful and honored to get to experience this community and this place and to watch human beings flourish and grow!"