Mr. Chairman, teachers, students and friends of our Covenant Christian High School:
I am very glad to have the honor of being on your program this evening. It affords me great pleasure to speak to you tonight, to take part in this program, dedicating our own covenant high school. After years of waiting exactly for this glorious hour, we are assembled here with our hearts and souls filled with joy because the goal of our hopes has now been realized. Our prayers and dreams have been answered and fulfilled! We give thanks to our faithful covenant God.
The time allotted me this evening is too short to convey congratulations to all those who have worked so hard and diligently to bring this wonderful project to fruition. I will leave that to others. Mine is the privilege to make a few dedicatory remarks upon this joyous occasion.
We are assembled here this evening to dedicate,—what? What shall we dedicate? Shall we dedicate this building? Shall we dedicate another high school building? Do we tonight join the ranks of those who have erected buildings for the purpose of secondary education? If so, your hopes and joys can easily be dampened somewhat. It is true that we have a beautiful building here. We are surely all delighted with it. But then I will hasten to add that there are other beautiful high school buildings, surely exceeding our own in beauty. Besides, it is now as yet incomplete; our program for secondary education is not yet finished: we still lack the twelfth grade. And if we are assembled here tonight merely to dedicate a building, then we have only begun. Then we should plan, not only with respect to the possible expansion of our present teaching quarters, but also to create other and larger facilities, such as a beautiful gymnasium and athletic field, so that our athletic teams will be able to compete with other teams and bring additional glory to our Covenant High School. Is this the purpose of our dedication program this evening? Are we gathered here to join forces with others? Indeed not! We have not built this school to add to other existing high schools; we have not established this institution of learning to affiliate with others in the cause of secondary education. We are here tonight because, by the grace of our God, we have resolved and determined to stand alone in the cause of secondary education!
We are gathered here tonight to dedicate,—what? And then permit me to express myself, your sentiments and mine, this way: We are gathered here, in all thankful humility, and awed by its tremendous responsibility, to dedicate ourselves to the cause of Protestant Reformed Secondary Education! That fills our hearts and minds tonight!
We have reasons for joy. I give you three reasons. First, and let me emphasize this immediately: we have entrusted to our care the youth of our churches, approximately between the ages of thirteen to eighteen! What a wonderful time is youth! Much can be said about this time of a person’s life: its impetuousness, its delight in dreaming about the future, its boldness and strength, not being afraid to face any enemy, but also its characteristic to overestimate its own powers and therefore also characteristic of underestimating those of the enemy. That is youth. But I wish to single out one of its characteristics, undoubtedly its most important. Youth is that formative period in a person’s life, in which that person begins to find himself, becomes concerned with who and what he or she is, and what his calling in life will be according to the gifts and talents the Lord has given him. A child lives mainly in the present, day by day. But the youth trains his sights upon the future, God’s calling for him in the midst of the church and also in the midst of the world. In the realm of secondary education, we have our wonderful youth under our wings; we have the glorious calling to prepare them, distinctively, for their place in the world and in the churches we love! And this means that now, beginning in the kindergarten, our children and young people can be instructed in our Protestant Reformed truths and principles even into our seminary, should the Lord call them into the ministry of the Word of God in our churches. I ask you: Is that worthwhile? Shall we give thanks to our covenant God for that? What a marvelous and tremendously highly responsible calling to train the youth for their place in the world and in the midst of the church!
Secondly, what do we offer these young people in this Covenant High School? That, after all, is a very important question. If we have nothing special, distinctive to offer and teach them, is it not rather absurd to have erected this building? Then all we did was to add to the already now many existing high school buildings. Do we have something distinctive to give them? We have! We shall instruct them in the glorious heritage of the struggling Church of God throughout the ages, join ranks with those who believe that God is God and He alone! He is and must be God in all the courses offered in this institution of learning! He alone is God worthy to be served and praised, also antithetically in the midst of the world. He is God Who made us, Who recreated us, having redeemed us through the blood of His Son upon the cross. Who calls, and He alone by the irresistible and sovereign power of His Spirit and Word to be a people unto Himself, unto the praise of the glory of His Name. “Soli Deo Gloria,”—alone to God the glory; always we must see His glory, His greatness as the God of our salvation, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Is that worthwhile? Is there anything higher than the glory of our covenant God? In fact, is there anything that can possibly be compared to it? But I must hasten to speak also of the awesome responsibility involved. Do you and I feel and sense the tremendousness of this calling, that we train our youth in the truth that God is the Incomparable One, that we are called to see Him and His majesty in the Scriptures but also through the Scriptures in all His works and ways? Embracing this task, shall we, then, not embrace it with profound humility, with fear and trembling, and with the prayer upon our lips: O, Lord. before we dedicate ourselves, dedicate Thou us unto this high and wonderful calling! To be in the service of Him Who alone is worthy of all praise and adoration is truly an awesome calling; there can be nothing higher!
I have one more reason for joy. Usually we say: last but not least. Am I permitted now to say: last and also least? This third reason for our joy is also great, but it is least only when compared with the other two. I could name our school board and others who have workedso diligently and faithfully unto the fulfillment of our hopes and prayers. But I will single out one particular group. I refer now to our teaching staff. After all a school is constituted of its teaching personnel; they are the school! And I surely believe with all my heart that the Lord has given us a staff of competent devoted, consecrated teachers who have assumed their responsibility in humility and prayerfully. To you teachers in our Covenant High School, I say: may God be with you and bless you and direct you in all your labors and difficulties. May the Lord strengthen all of us, dedicate us all anew, so that we, in answer to His grace, may say: Lord, our faithful covenant God, to Thee we give thanks, and give us grace to be faithful and true to the calling whereunto Thou hast called us. May He lead us and direct us and continue to seal and confirm us in His covenant, unto the glory of His alone blessed Name! I thank you.