Yesterday I was graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary. HURRAY!!! The ceremony was held at the Washington National Cathedral, and it was lovely. I really couldn’t stop smiling. I was there with my classmates, and I got to sing in the choir (which I have done for every graduation – every single one – all six of them – since I entered seminary, but this one was MINE), and it was wonderful. And we actually got our diplomas, our real diplomas, handed to us. But that’s not what I want to talk about today. Not entirely.
Many of my classmates have been posting “It is finished” as Facebook status updates last week and leading up to graduation. I get it. I do. It’s been a long haul – longer for some of us than others. But it seems odd to me to be quoting Jesus from the cross as he’s about to die just as we’re about to embark on our ministries. I mean, they call it commencement for a reason.
Now, anyone who’s ever attended a high school graduation knows that it’s commencement, and knows what that means. Probably because every high school speaker in the history of high schools feels the need to explain as if for the first time ever, that commencement means beginning. Right. And we are. Sort of. I mean, some of my classmates have been serving churches since they began seminary. Different denominations – different ways of doing things. But still, this is a new chapter.
For me, this really is a whole new start. I thought all along I was going into chaplaincy, and now, SURPRISE!! It seems I’m headed to parish ministry. So it is definitely NOT finished. It is just beginning.
OK, the seminary part is finished. For now. No more final exams and credo papers. I get that. But now comes the real work. Now comes facing parishioners and committees. Committees! Now comes being out there and doing all the stuff we’ve been talking about. Oh my!
Yesterday morning, before heading out to the cathedral I got an e-mail. I have been cleared for search. That means that I can go and start looking for a church to serve, and churches can start looking for me. Scary? You bet! Finished? Not by a long shot. This is just beginning!
So the graduation ceremony was lovely. Did I mention that I couldn’t stop smiling? I couldn’t. I am so thankful for family, friends, and my supervisor who came to witness.
Let the next phase commence! It is not at all finished!
That’s it. That’s my mite.