Yesterday, I graduated. Wilfred Laurier University granted me a Master of Divinity, the culmination of four years as a full or part time student. While it seems a long time ago that I finished the last class for the degree (we were in Ireland when the spring convocation took place), and life has moved quickly on to next things, the day was still very special.
It was a full day. We couldn’t miss coffee with the biking group, so we were at the coffee shop at 8:00 am. There had been ominous emails about the busyness and line ups that might be involved with all of the process for the day, so we set off in good time to first rent a gown and hood for the day. The line ups did not materialize and we were early for the pre-convocation reception at the seminary.
J was a little perturbed when the “reception” turned out to be a church service. “Why do the Lutherans have to turn everything into a church service?” she asks grumpily. Well it is a seminary, so it really shouldn’t be a huge surprise that a church service might be involved. There was also lots of time for pictures, awards (I got some) and congratulations. It was good to be back in the seminary chapel and to share worship with fellow travelers.
The reception included, with a really good cake and and opportunity to catch up with former classmates and professors. Then it was off to the arena where the big ceremony was to be held. This time it was the vision of very limited parking which drove us to be early. We got a good spot, but maybe didn’t need to be there quite as soon as we were. J got lots of knitting done before and during the ceremony and a few times I wished I had brought along a book.
Hundreds went across the stage following an entertaining talk by newly minted Honourary Doctor, author, Vincent Lam. He urged us to put our pants on before setting out on new and pressing tasks (at least I think this is what he said). I wondered more than once during the endless role of names, why I had bothered to come out. The event was huge and I was just one, almost past middle aged guy, among a sea of bright young faces heading out to new things. It changed when I hit the stage though, as my Church Polity prof draped the hood around my neck and shook my hand. Then I walked across the stage into the open arms of the Dean of the Seminary (oh, I shook the hand of the university chancellor first, but I don’t know him) and then on the floor of the arena, two more of my profs congratulated me warmly. Suddenly, the event was special, personal.
And thus, with ceremony, pomp, and splendor, a milestone is reached and celebrated. There seems to little time to sit back and enjoy the accomplishment, but that’s fine for now. There are more milestones ahead, more celebrations to look forward to, and lots more to learn.
For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. Ephesians 2:10 NRSV