By: Dan Steinfield, Head of School
This year our theme verse, Isaiah 40:31, calls our community to deep hope.
In fact, Isaiah's name means "Yahweh is salvation" - summing up the message of the Prophet Isaiah. Isaiah challenges the people of Judah in Isaiah's time, circa 725 BC - and all of us today - to accept their role in a story that is headed to a glorious future.
This theme aligns with Christian deeper learning: we are the people of God's story engaged in real work that forms self and shapes the world.
The clarion call of Isaiah 40:31 is that God’s people stand fast, no matter what we face in the present or in times to come. God consoles his discouraged people; "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed" (40:5). We are to savor the promise of God by faith until the time of fulfillment. In Christ we find endless supplies of fresh strength.
Who are “they” who hope in the Lord? What does a community marked by these people look like? And why hope in the Lord, in a world where we are presented with many other solutions?
Isaiah 40:1-8 gives us our first answer. We are immediately reminded that we are finite, mortal, temporary - like the grass that withers and flowers that fade (v 7). Left to our own devices we are scattered and exiled. But through Jesus Christ we are made the people of God, known by name to a loving God (v 1). Our true identity as sons and daughters of the living God stands firm no matter what we face or where we find ourselves (v 2).
We are a people of peace.
Our iniquities are pardoned (v 2).
Our path forward is made straight and level (v 4)
We are God’s beautiful creation (v 6).
God’s living word of hope imparts life to His people (v 8)
Tim Keller articulates it this way, “God looked into our world - the world he had made - and saw our sin destroying us because we had turned away from him. If filled his heart with pain. He loved us. He saw us struggling to extricate ourselves from the traps and misery we created for ourselves. And so he wrote himself in the story. Jesus Christ, the God-man, born in a manger, born to die on a cross for us. Behold how Jesus loves you and me” (Encounters with Jesus).
Isaiah 40:9-26 further emphasizes the greatness of the Lord. The Holy One of Israel is incomparable in his power (v 12), wisdom (v 13-14), immensity (v 15-17), sovereignty (v 22-23), and authority (v 25). No opposition can compare with the creator of all things (v 12-26). A God who placed each star in the sky and knows them by name will surely never forget even one of his people.
The fulfillment of this comforting promise does not depend on favorable historical trends but only on the Word of God (v 5). Isaiah 40:28-31 summarizes:
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
The picture Isaiah paints is one of deep hope in Yahweh, the God who saves. We are to savor the promises of God by faith until the time of fulfillment. God’s people are people of deep hope. Not wishes or plans. And more than just hope. Deep hope.
As we enter another school year, we look forward with anticipation to the great works our God will do in and through the DC community. This fall we will solidify our next strategic plan, identifying the key strategic initiatives that will be our focus and guide us through 2026. We also continue the quiet phase of an upcoming campaign, with the hope for a public launch to the NEXT Generation campaign this winter. We will complete re-accreditation with ACSI, Middle States, and CESA in March of 2023.
Most importantly, every day, our faculty and staff will disciple students to be prepared for a life of redemptive impact. As part of our innovative and exemplary education rooted in Christ, we enter year three of Teaching for Transformation. Our faculty and students will spend time contemplating their deep hopes - a statement of purpose and calling within God’s story that guides our learning.
My deep hope for this community is that we would be men and women after God's own heart, who do all His will by living into our unique places of redemptive impact within God's Story.