of endings and the horizon

In one week I will graduate from seminary for the third and final time. This week I will be posting thoughts on my experience and on some of my hopes for the future. As always, my opinions will always be my own.

There is an impression which some folks have about seminaries and their students which believes they hover on the precipice of irrelevance and naivite. There is probably good reason for this. I think that the two seminaries I have attended largely avoid this caricature. I hope that I am one of a growing number of students who can help break down that perception. In my personal experience, seminary students tend to be a jaded group of people. They have lived life. They have seen and done things. They get it. And in most cases, they want to make a difference in their world for Jesus Christ.

Graduation is an ending of a protracted period of intense theological study and practical application in real world ministry; it is the beginning of carrying that hard work forward into further lifelong learning and application. It truly is a commencement which unleashes motivated graduates into their contexts as viable contributors to the cause of Christ.

I don’t believe it is hyperbole to wax eloquent about the prospects awaiting the graduate, should they be so daring, so willing to risk security that they lay down their ambitions and take up their crosses afresh in following Jesus. Because of this, some will be mocked and ridiculed in the days to come by the very people they strive to love. Some will lose their jobs in the process and even be falsely accused so as to quell their budding ministries. Some will become disillusioned by the behavior of leaders and parishioners, but by God’s grace they will find help in their times of need. Some will inspire the planting of many churches. Some will go to unreached people groups. Some will translate the Bible into obscure dialects. Some will start families and work ordinary jobs. Some will write articles and books. Some will become novelists, homemakers and common laborers. Some will help dying churches find new life. Some will become homeless so as to live among and minister to and with the marginalized. In their own ways, they all will be witnesses to an ever-changing multiplicity of cultures. And when the dust settles and the memory of who they are and what they have done in following Christ seemingly fades of out time, Jesus ultimately will remember their names and say, “I am well pleased.”

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