As each one of their names was read I could see the look in each of their faces. It was a look I have seen countless times. This same look, which I warmly remember, I wore on my own face years ago. It was a look of satisfaction, of completion, of joy sprinkled with a fair bit of exhaustion for what it took to get to this point. That day was commencement and those wearing the proud faces were the graduating students from Seabury-Western Seminary.
In a couple of weeks I will be blessed to be part of two more commencements, one at Shattuck-St. Mary’s and one at Breck. For most of us we see these as moments of great accomplishment. They are almost always times of significant transition: high school to college student or seminary student to ordained person.
And while there is undoubtedly a sense of completion hopefully there is not a feeling of finality. One of my favorite illustrations of this is the story of the parishioner who was looking at the priest’s library when the priest asked if he was looking for a particular book. He responded, “Just want to see if your theology died in seminary or if you have purchased a book since then!”
Formation, like transformation, is life-long.
May God bless all those who have come to these important milestones in their journeys. May God bless them as in the concluding prayer for Baptisms, “Give them an inquiring and discerning heart all the days of their lives.”