Be Equipped For What God Is Calling You to Do In These (Strange) Times
Acadia Divinity College Faculty and Staff, Special Guests, family, and friends, I’m humbled to share briefly on behalf of the class of 2021.
None of us have gotten here on our own. And so to our families, to the College staff and faculty, and all supporters of the College & its students, we thank you.
You’ve supported us emotionally, financially, and spiritually to help us get to this point. You’ve helped to hold us up when we weren’t sure we could take another step and have reminded us that God truly has invited each of us into what He is doing, and that our part matters.
I struggled with the thought of giving a reflection on behalf of the class of 2021. In regular times it’s a challenge to reflect on behalf of a group of individuals. We come from a variety of backgrounds. We’re in various stages of life (Paul Hatfield- no offense, man). We find ourselves in a variety of locations around the province and country. And we each feel God calling us in a number of different directions.
In times as unique and truly unprecedented as this global pandemic it feels even more challenging to reflect on behalf of others. For not only has it impacted each of us in a variety of ways, but we’ve not been able to be together as many of us usually would be.
We’ve not been able to stand in the chapel and worship together, or to gather for lunch afterwards. The in-between class times have been lost. The conversation, the Pop Tarts, the intense games of Ping Pong (Andrew and Ajay, Derek and I were making progress, and we still want our shot at the throne).
I don’t think it’s pessimistic to recognize that something has been lost in these past few semesters that took place during a pandemic. There is no sense in ignoring what has been lost this past year, for the fact that it’s disappointing only speaks more to how good the things that we’ve missed out on were.
And yet even still it has not nearly been all loss, because while much has been taken, as it relates to our seminary experience, that much more has been gained, and I believe that the unique challenges of this past year have prepared and equipped the Acadia Divinity College graduating class of 2021 in ways that will allow each of us to step into what God is calling each of us to in these times.
Strange Leaders for Strange Times
This is after all the invitation on the front page of our website to those considering studying at ADC; to “Be equipped for what God is calling you to do in these times.”
The time we live in are strange. And though they may have become stranger over the past year or so, the strange times we find ourselves in did not begin with the pandemic, and they won’t finish when it does either.
In light of this, we can be grateful that Acadia Divinity College has prepared us well to be the strange leaders that these strange times will require.
Not strange in an awkward, or off-putting sense, but strange in our commitment to truth and in our ability to think theologically in a culture that is growing less and less concerned with what is true.
Strange in our ability to be nimble, and not afraid of change.
Unwavering in our convictions, and yet less concerned with the methods than with the mission.
Strange in our humility and our ability to listen and to learn as we engage with others, especially those who believe differently than we do. On that note, we will be strange in our commitment to reconciliation, across all dividing lines.
Strange, as well, in our confidence that by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in and through each of us that what we do matters.
Strange in our belief in the Church. In the Church that Christ is committed to building and that is God’s plan A to renew and redeem the world.
We’ll be strange in our belief, that no matter what anyone will say about the Church, that there is hope for the future because Jesus has overcome, and so will His Bride.
These strange times will require a strange, peculiar, type of Christian leader. And so we are grateful that Acadia Divinity College has prepared and equipped us well for all that God is calling each of us to in these times.
I’m honoured to have studied beside many of you and now to graduate with each of you, but I’m even more honoured to now step out and lean in to the opportunity of a lifetime- to walk with Jesus and to serve His Church, by the power of the Spirit.
In Paul’s words I pray too, that we may have the power to understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep Christ’s love is though it is too great to understand fully.
All Glory to God – who is able- through his mighty power at work within us – to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the Church, and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever. Amen.