On the last day of school before Christmas, I gave a chapel message on the fourth candle of Advent which stands for Peace. Looking out into a sea of students whose stories are peppered with trauma and uncertainty, I shared about a peace from God which surpasses human understanding (Philippians 4:4-12). In many ways, for our students, there is no greater gift. As the waves and clouds of our dying culture weigh them down, the surety of Christ as their anchor is a welcome draw. As I walked through the verses and God's redemptive path which began with the birth of the Christ child, it was clear that this was the message our students needed.
While it was a blessing to see so many students come forward (which is not something I usually do, or am even comfortable with), I was most moved by the gesture of our newest student, a Junior, who just joined Cornerstone a few weeks ago. As the students were filing out, this young man asked to speak to me privately. He gripped my hand, looked me in the eye, and through a crackling voice, he thanked me for letting him come to Cornerstone and for "changing his life." Through tears, I eeked out a few kind words about how great it was to have him in the Cornerstone family and how much I appreciated his kind words.
The truth is, we accepted him against our better judgment. It rarely works out to take students so late in their High School careers, or so late in the school year. But as he had just moved to DC a few months earlier, had a loving and awesome mother who had emigrated from Africa and had served in the U.S. military for years (as had so many others in his family) and as he had such a bad experience in the public school he had been attending, I just knew he was meant to be a Cornerstone Lion.
This young man was the 153rd student at Cornerstone this year -- which, fittingly, is the number of fish the disciples caught after Jesus' resurrection when Christ appeared and told them to cast their nets one last time (John 21).
I am so thankful for each and every one of the 153 students God has put in Cornerstone's "net." My prayer for them, is the same as my prayer for each of you, that you may know and experience a peace that can only come through the surety of living for and loving Christ, who was born for you as your savior.
P.S. On December 14th, a generous donor offered to match up to $100,000 for all donations received before the end of the year. Would you help us achieve this goal and invest in the lives of our students and families? Would you help "change lives" at Cornerstone?