As a new academic year begins in the life of Seminary of the Southwest, I am excited for the potential for learning new things, continuing in my formation towards Holy Orders, and new relationships with faculty, staff, and students. I am excited about all the promise that the start of a new year brings with it. I wait upon the edge of a precipice with anticipation for sinking my teeth into the new opportunities that the year holds.
Though excitement and anticipation are normal anytime I enter into a new part of our lives – whether it is a new year, a new job, or simply a new perspective on life – I must also be reminded to enter into the doorway of that new beginning with humility. The gospel lesson from today, Luke 14:1, 7-14, reminds all of us the importance of humility as we journey through life. Normally, when I think of being humble, I think about it in relation to others; however, I also find it necessary to be reminded of the importance of being humble with the self.
The time that I share with others in seminary is a great time to explore and to discern where God is calling me in ministry. It is a time of formation, a time of relearning how to be in community with others, and a time for seeking a deeper understanding of God’s love with myself and with the world. In such a place, the lesson of humility is one of great importance. As with many academic programs, the academic life of seminary can create a competitive atmosphere by which we measure ourselves and each other. One of the greatest lessons that seminary has to offer to me is to remember that we are not called to live with each other in a competitive spirit. Instead, I am called to walk with my classmates, faculty, and staff for a short time in my life. In coming to seminary, the path that I am walking has joined the paths of others, and I am invited to walk alongside them during the time our paths overlap. In that time, I am invited to support my sojourners as they walk their path, and I am invited to accept their support as I walk mine.
As the year begins, I look forward to being a support for the people that enter my life and walk alongside me for a moment in time. I look forward to being supported during the times that I need support. Mostly, though, I look forward to continued learning through lessons of humility. I hope that I can remember to be a supportive community member without the expectation of praise or recognition, and I hope that I can take the reminders to engage in community hospitably in a way that continues to help me grow into an instrument for God’s work in the world.