Sunday, September 10, 2006

Back in the Saddle - Seniordom "Attained"

I'm writing this on the Lord's Day, the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. With that dating in liturgical time, I thought it might be nice to finally get back in the game; really get back in the game. Having now completed the first week of the Fall term, I have the following observations:

First, seminary is wonderful. I've missed my friends and colleagues, I've missed my apartment, I've missed the familiar sights and sounds of hawks flying overhead, I've missed the creek, I've missed the park, I've missed far more than I thought I would spending the summer with my family in Salt Lake City. I've missed the "academic" life, the life of stressful deadlines and unfamiliar tongues. I've missed the library, the chapel, and our other colleagues in ministry, our professors. With the tolling of the new chapel bell comes yet another scene in this mysterious novel of learning.

Second, I'm ready to take on more, including better self-care. I think I've been in coasting mode, surfing the internet amidst a life passing by, taking more time to do routine tasks, neglecting the maintenance of self and of sanity. Having witnessed, on average, about one death per week over my 11-week Clinical Pastoral Education experience, I realize now, more than ever before, both the importance of our mortality, as well as the incredible gift of the promise of immortality. We truly live in the "thin place" as kingdom citizens, the place of the "now and not yet." These are theological terms, but they are practical theological terms. We cannot bring the kingdom here, but we are the kingdom. Strange, isn't it? It's a fleeting sense of both the familiar and non-familiar, of places scene even without being present, of a present that is also the fulfillment of everything, all time and creation, under the guiding hand of the Known Unknown, our heavenly Father.

Part of taking more on is fulfilling one of the components of the great commission. I was reminded of this during today's sermon on Matthew 28:19-20:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(Matt 28:19-20 NRSV)
"Teaching" (διδάσκοντες) is part of our evangelistic call. Accordingly, I've taken on a new role of Teaching Assistant for the seminary's Greek exegesis course.

This will be a very busy semester. In addition to normal classwork, teaching, and internship responsibilities, there is also the matter of completing wedding plans. I'll try to keep y'all in the loop. In the meantime, might I make a request, dear reader? Please pray for the seminary staff, professors, and students. We are comforted and encouraged by them.

Grace and peace to you all!

numly esn 10230-060910-194320-80
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