I graduated from seminary yesterday. . . . It was joyful, but it was also a day of mixed emotions for me. And I feel like I should be able to give voice to this here, but this post is harder to articulate than any I’ve written recently. I’ve loved my time in seminary and am going to miss it – I’m already going through book withdrawal. This is the cost of being an introvert: school becomes a very pleasant and safe place. It’s a good thing that my friends and family have already given me a few good books!
Just a few quick reflections on the past couple days:
1) I’m grateful for everyone who’s supported and encouraged me in this journey. Wednesday night my family went out to dinner to celebrate. As we stood at the door, waiting to sit down, my high school Young Life leader suddenly walked in the door! Todd, the man to helped lead me to faith in high school and then helped disciple me until I left for college, had flown all the way from Colorado just to be here for my graduation. I was touched by his coming, but I was also reminded of everyone else who’s been a part of my story of call: My family (of course), especially Eileen, my parents, and my uncle Bob and aunt Jeanie. Of course, there’s also the family of my housemates: Alison, Jen, Kendall, and Lucia. Then there are my pastors: Bruce Sexton, from my childhood; Bill Forbes, from my hometown church; Peter Barnes, of First Pres Boulder who told me to consider coming to Pittsburgh Seminary, and of course now BJ and John at The Open Door. And my care team from my presbytery, especially Mary Hammond Atkinson and Tom Hansen. I could go on forever, but these people (as well as all my professors here) deserve special words of gratitude.
2) I’m grateful to be reminded that I am finite. Kang Na, a professor at Westminster College, gave the sermon at commencement last night, preaching on Psalm 8 and James 4:13-15. Combined with the cathedral-esque atmosphere of East Liberty Presbyterian Church, the sermon was a humbling and beautiful reminder of our limitations. As we’re headed into church-planting for my first call in ministry, it’s good to be reminded that I am but flesh, and that the success of our ministry depends upon God’s will, rather than our own desires and efforts.
3) I look forward to seeing the ways that God will use the people in my class in various ministries. For example, when we finished undergrad at CU, little did Eileen and I know that one of our friends from college, Nadia, would also end up church-planting. Today I wonder where Doodle, Allen, Dan, Tom, Jan, Brian (and the list goes on and on) will be in a few years.
So, thank God for PTS. I will miss it, but I’ll still be in town. I’m done with school . . . for now at least.