I recently attended a Science and Religion seminar and Alumni reunion at my Alma Mater, Andover Newton Theological School. It was the first time I had been back to my seminary in many years. The seminar speakers were excellent, and the reunion speakers – Andover Newton alumni who had significant accomplishments in their ministry careers – were inspiring. As I watched my old Professors process into the Chapel for convocation worship, I felt the peace of coming home.
Walking around the campus, I remembered the days when I was attending classes, writing papers, listening to lectures, and sharing in stimulating conversations in the cafeteria. It was an exciting time in my life, a time when I knew I was answering God’s call to serve in ministry.
I think I was also actually terrified much of the time. The old “me” was being transformed into something new, and I wondered if I had what it took for this transformation. When I entered seminary, I felt I knew God pretty well. But seminary challenged that. This is what is supposed to happen, isn’t it? This is why we go to school in the first place, to be challenged and to grow.
Well, a few years later I graduated with my Master of Divinity degree. I had earned all of the credits and met all of the additional requirements. But the most important thing that happened over these years, was this: I had learned there was so much more I had yet to learn about God. The learning would never end!
Life has a way of transforming us. And our faith assures us that we can trust that God takes part in our transformation. As a church going through its own transformation, we need to rely on this and practice both patience and openness to the gifts of this time. The letter to the Ephesians reminds us, to “lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.” (Eph 4:1-2) We are never too old or too knowledgeable or too wise, to learn more. It is up to us to say yes – and to pray – and to participate – and to thank God for giving us each other to love and challenge us for the task set before us.
If you have been away for a while, I invite you to come home to your church. If you are already here, thank you for making the peace of coming home, real for our community! The church is a people, and you are an important part of the church family. Yes, our God is calling us to a new discovery about ourselves. I pray we will have what it takes to answer that call!
Fall Blessings to you!
Yours in Christ’s Service,
Rev. Linda C. Hey