Tag Archives: Clarence High School

Do you really really believe that God exists?

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In 1978, in Clarence High school, the scripture curriculum for Std VIII included memorising the RSV rendering of Hebrews chapter 11. Our teacher would announce as soon as he entered the classroom: “Say your memory verse,” and sit down at his desk.

And it would begin.

In a very orderly fashion, one by one my classmates and I stood up to say the memory verse and sit down. For instance, let’s say we were doing the ninth verse, it might go something like this:

Student stands up

Heb 11:9 “By faith they sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.”

Student sits down.

Next student stands up

Heb 11:9 “By faith they sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.”

Student sits down.

Next student stands up

Heb 11:9 “By faith they sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.”

Student sits down.

We were about 35 students, and soon the teacher would not be really listening to us.

Next student stands up

Heb 11:9 “By faith they sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.”

Student sits down.

Next student standing up might say something like

Heb 11:9 “By faith the aeroplanes fly in the sky and even if you don’t believe me,  its true, heirs with him of the same promise.”

Student sits down.

Still in the same orderly fashion, more classmates would say the most ridiculous things when it came to their turn after starting with Heb 11:9 By faith”.  I would usually be the last to notice what was going on, finding out only after the class was in fits of giggles, which was about the same time the teacher broke away from his reverie and started listening again.

However imperfect those classes were, I memorised the passage (we got up to vs 21, I believe) and what a blessing it has been.

It is easy to understand why people like Enoch, Noah, and Abraham are included in this list of the stalwarts of faith. But Jephthah!? And Samson?! Why are they included?

I thank God that they are included—obviously imperfect men who were nevertheless saved by God because they believed. Somewhere somehow, they were given that gift of saving faith to believe that God is really really real.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God; for whoever would draw near to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. “

Do I really really believe that He exists? Intellectually, I know He exists. To add to this, I have also experienced His protection and care time and again. But how do I conduct myself when the next big problem comes my way? Do I behave as if I really really believe that the God of the universe exists and that He takes a personal interest in me?

The Lord had led the children of Israel out of Egypt with a strong and mighty hand. They had lived through this experience. They thus had intellectual and experiential knowledge. They had seen the Red Sea part. They had walked across as if on dry land. They had seen the waters fall back on the army of Pharoah. What did this blessed people do when they came up against the next hurdle? Why did they start complaining so soon and so bitterly? Because, they were not a spiritual people and did not have the saving faith that can be ours only by grace.

How is it with me? When the next big problem comes my way? Do I waver a wee bit, do I worry? I am ashamed that often times I do, at least initially, until I am reminded to believe. But thanks be to God, it is not long before I can sing: Jesus, I am resting, resting / In the joy of what thou art; / I am finding out the greatness / Of thy loving heart, while I wait for Him to act in His own way and in His own time.

For our founders

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For our founders we would thank Thee,
Their loving gracious plan,
Their many deeds of kindness,
Since first our school began. . .

We thank Thee O Father, for these and all Thy care
Bestowed upon Thy children both here and everywhere.

This is from the school hymn of Clarence High School, Bangalore. I remember Mr. Flack urging our Std 8 class in 1978 to memorize the school hymn and telling us that a good way to do this was to think about the meaning, and then he spoke to us about the founders of the school, the Redwood brothers.

I had not realised the role the Brethren Assemblies in New Zealand had played in the founding of the school until I went through the following book:
In His Name
A record of Assembly Missionary Outreach from New Zealand
By L.A.Marsh

Here are some excerpts from this book that have to do with Clarence and Bethesda Church.

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Miss Emma Norton Horton

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On 23 June 2007, Miss Horton will celebrate her 90th birthday with family and friends in Victoria, BC, Canada.

She must have been nearly 65 when I got to know her. When I asked her why she had not married, she said that she had still not met her Prince Charming, and that she was still waiting. To the best of my knowledge, she has not married in the intervening years.

When I grumbled at home that I found reading the Bible boring, my father thought for a moment and said, “Tell God that you want to read His word and will do so, but that you find it boring. He has made the reading of His word so delightful to me, and He can for you too, if you ask Him.” I did pray. Today the word of God is delightful to me too, but between then and now, God used many circumstances and people to acquaint me with His word. One early person that He used was Miss Horton.

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Mr. A.C.Flack of Clarence

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The best years of my school life were spent in Clarence High School, Bangalore. This is a Christian school affiliated to Bethesda (Brethren) Church. Scripture was compulsory as a subject, and many of the scripture passages I know from memory were learnt during my scripture classes there.

The school principal was Mr. A.C.Flack, an Australian. He seemed to know everyone of his students and even where they lived.

One day, I lost my cycle key in school and was trying to find a locksmith, when I very nearly collided into Mr. Flack outside the small gate near the peepul tree.

“What are you doing outside the school?”

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