Today we will be honoring our graduates. On May 9, Patten University graduated 22 students. This coming Wednesday, PACE will celebrate and honor students who are going from Kindergarten to First Grade; from Middle School to High School; and from High School to College, and then on to Life! Likewise, we have many students who are promoting within the Sunday School and Children’s Ministries as well.
This time of year will often remind us that our lives are characterized as journeys. Theologian Alister McGrath states, “The image of journey reminds us that we are going somewhere…[and] traveling does more than lead us to the goal of our journeying. A journey is itself a process that enables us to grow and develop as we press on to our goal.” The imagery is powerful because it instills within us an understanding that we are traveling both “FROM…and TO.” We are leaving some things, some places, and even some people; and moving forward toward somewhere new, and in this process, we ourselves are changing, learning, growing, and progressing.
Graduation is a marker for many of our young people on that journey. It is the celebration of accomplishment. It is the appreciation that others have invested their “todays” for their children’s “tomorrows.” Further, it is a point of embarkation as they leave the safety of the familiar to embrace the uncertainty of the adventure.
Christianity itself is a journey from SELF to CHRIST; from Self-Interest to Christ-Interest. The Joy of Heaven is the full apprehension of God, whereas the Joy of Earth is the full pursuit of Him! It is in this journey that we begin to find fulfillment and meaning for our lives; not in the self-absorption for which our society so callously panders, but rather in pursuing the purpose and mission for which we were created.
One of the beautiful aspects of our journey is that although we walk an individual path, we are not alone. Throughout our lives, the Lord is with us and He uses the willing gifts of Parents, Grandparents, Family, Friends, Teachers, Administrators, Pastors, Sunday School workers, Mentors, and many others who are unseen and unknown, who invest in our life. Who believe in us and what we can become.
Others have loved us. Others have deemed us valuable and important. Others have said, “Your life counts to me.” Others have invested a part of themselves and their future in us.
What the Lord wants from each of us is to go and do likewise!
Dr. Tobey Montgomery