After three years of study and formation, on Friday I received the degree “Master of Divinity” in Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago. On the face of it, such a degree seems to indicate that I have mastered the divine or, at the very least, mastered studying the divine. If there is anything I’ve learned from the Divinity School it’s that the divine cannot be mastered. That which is unsurpassably good and true, beautiful and just, cannot be tamed or contained. God remains an elusive reality beckoning all creation forward into a future hope. For me, God remains a promise, holding open a future of ministry and abundant life. I trust that my degree will propel me into that promise, into that hope, so that I might taste and glimpse the divine life as it unfolds on earth through the power of the Spirit.
Such theological reflection does not cover over the fact that the official life of ministry awaits ordination and discerning a particular call to ministry in a church. In other words, the promised life of ministry to which my degree propels me is not here yet. Instead, on the heels of my graduation, I am on “sabbatical” in Alliance, Ohio where I have rejoined Rebecca. We will be in Ohio until November, at which time we will take a weeklong journey to our next temporary home: Austin, Texas.
We are living by the graciousness of God and the generosity of Rebecca’s family. Rebecca’s sister and brother-in-law are opening their home to us during our stay here. I will cherish the opportunity to play uncle with my nephews Ethan and Luke. Importantly, I also plan to support and encourage Rebecca as she works and learns at the VA clinic in Canton, Ohio. Together, we hope to enjoy my “down time” by biking in the coming weeks as the weather cools and taking a few excursions to PA, KY, and IL in order to visit friends and family. The post-graduation adventure has commenced! Bring on the surprises!