The following was written by former teacher, board member, and parent Deb Van Duinen and presented at the 2023 Annual Society Meeting as she reflected on her childrens’ experience as students at Holland Christian 

My son, David, a junior at HC, is in his second year as a Living Hope Singer. Led by Erica Blom, Living Hope Singers is Holland Christian’s audition-based choir made up of 24 males and females. Every March, Living Hope puts on a popular Showcase event, a fun evening of song and dance. Our family loves going to this every year.

The Living Hope Singers, however, do more than learn how to entertain a crowd. Throughout the year, the choir also sings in local churches. I really do love Showcase, but it’s hearing my son sing at these worship services that are the most meaningful to me.

One of the Living Hope songs this year is “All Things New” by Elaine Hagenberg. Let me read the lyrics to you:

Light after darkness, gain after loss
Strength after weakness, crown after cross;
Sweet after bitter, hope after fears
Home after wandering, praise after tears

Alpha and Omega
Beginning and the end
He is making all things new
Springs of living water
Shall wash away each tear
He is making all things new
Sight after mystery, sun after rain
Joy after sorrow, peace after pain;
Near after distant, gleam after gloom
Love aftеr wandering, life after tomb

These words are beautiful, but even more so when you hear them sung in four-part harmony.

When I hear Living Hope sing these words, I’m often moved to the point of tears. The words are ones that I need to hear and remember. I need these words to swirl around in my heart so that they continue to shape how I make sense of what’s happening in my life and the world.

Hearing my son and others sing these words also moves me to tears when I think about how, through music, these teenagers are preaching God’s word and ministering to me and others listening to them. Through their musical gifts and honest expressions of worship, these Living Hope Singers are speaking God’s hope and light into people’s stories that might otherwise feel dark and hopeless.

When I hear my son sing, I pray that the words are planted deep in his bones, so deep that they come back to him if there comes a time when he doesn’t feel close to God or wonders if God actually exists. As he gets older and experiences more of the joys and heartbreaks of life, I pray that these words, these promises of “making all things new” return to him and remind him of God’s larger story and work in our world.

When I hear Living Hope sing, I remember why Jon and I have chosen to send our kids to a Christian school. We’re trying to raise our four kids in the Lord, and we can’t do this alone. We need our church, and we need this school to help us do this. We pray that our kids become like trees planted by streams of water which yield their fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither.

What my kids experience at Holland Christian helps their roots grow. You see, my kids aren’t just learning about God in Living Hope Singers or from worship songs in chapel. David is also learning about God and how to worship God on his soccer team with Coach DeBoer, in his Spanish class with Señora Vanderbeek, on student council with Mr. Koeman, in Biology class with Mrs. O’Brien, and with his friends on the Unified basketball team.

There is not a square inch in our world, in our lives, that God has not declared as His, and I love that my kids get to learn this and experience this each and every day at Holland Christian.

I love Christian education and this place we call Holland Christian. As a Holland Christian High School English teacher for five years, an HC parent of 14 years and counting, and a board member for the past six years, this place holds a special place in my heart.

Holland Christian isn’t perfect, but no institution is. I’m grateful that my kids are at a place where we can wrestle with the brokenness around and within us and where we can, across subject areas and grade levels, classrooms and co-curricular spaces, learn about, lean into and join in the ways God is “making all things new.”

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