I have loved all of my classes. I love the conversation, the challenge, the change in perspective. All the classes I have taken so far (two years worth of them) have encouraged me to think differently, to think bigger, to engage with new ideas, to engage with old ideas in a new way. I think I'll always have a love for learning. I'll always be a lifelong learner.
Don't get me wrong, it's hard. But a good friend told me once that it should be hard. Because it shows us ourselves, and if it's not hard, then why do it? That same friend always reminds me that you come out of seminary someone different than who you went in as. And that there's something to be said for being engaged in both ministry and seminary at the same time. I feel that, and I am grateful for those friends in my corner.
I am often reminded of how much of privilege it is to learn. My mind expands and it really is a beautiful road I am journeying down. The processing is wonderful. It has really helped me to be a better pastor. My Church History class this semester has helped me see a current parents' perspective in their relationship with their daughter. It's really fantastic.
But what I was reminded today, while completing an assignment for my Interpreting the Bible class, is how seminary points me to Christ. To the core, it helps me be a better person. A better child in relationship to the Father.
I had my Bible (and a couple of reference books) open on the table, doing a word study from a few verses in Colossians. Being such a word person, I really enjoyed the assignment. A word study is, in a way, almost exactly what it sounds like. You study a word in Scripture based on the original Greek, its context, and other verses where the same word appears in order to find what the author intended for his original audience, the meaning of the word in the particular verse you're studying, etc. It's really quite fascinating.
Today had been a long day. There are a lot of things that I have felt burdened by. Troubled by. Discouragement, mostly. Ministry is a tough, joyful, wonderful ride. But as I sat down with these verses open, as I read over and again what Paul meant to the people he meant it to, I felt overjoyed. The Word of God is the beautiful, alive, breathing breath of God. I don't know many things, but I do know that. Sitting with it open reoriented me.
I felt a renewed sense of what it is to be alive in Christ. What wonder, what peace at where true identity lies. My soul breathed yes in a deep sigh.
Carry on, souls. You are alive.