"I did a thing ..."
I've "liked" so many Facebook posts in the last few days that began that way. Not terribly eloquent, quite a bit understated, yet so true. My fellow seminarians at Meadville Lombard and Starr King are sharing their joy and elation about graduating and having their Master of Divinity degrees finally conferred.... some of us have been at this on the five or six-year plan!
First among the things and commencement activities I did last weekend in Chicago was the graduate vespers service and dinner honoring the three recipients of honorary degrees; the highlight of the evening for me was the remarks from the honorees. Dr. Daniel O. Aleshire, recently retired executive director of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (the accreditation body), spoke about the never-ending importance and need for human ministry to address the needs of our world which artificial intelligence cannot. Hillary Goodridge, Program Director of the UU Funding Program and co-plaintiff in the 2001 Massachusetts lawsuit that won marriage equality in 2004, spoke about the importance of financial support for social justice change-makers and "keeping the gift moving." Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, Senior Minister of Cedar Lane UU Church of Bethesda, MD and Meadville alum, spoke of the challenges and imperative of ministering well from the parish in a time and world of increasing diversity and division.
Sunday morning, I skipped attending one of the several UU worship services in the area and attended our Coming of Age service courtesy of Facebook Live. (A shout-out and Thank You to those who make it happen!) I found the service moving and the statements thought-provoking. They each did a thing, didn't they?
The Commencement Service was held at First Unitarian of Chicago, a grand and stately stone structure in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey, VP for Academic and Student Affairs, delivered the commencement sermon, "Following A Circuitous Route." And, THAT's when my eyes welled up with tears, repeatedly, as she urged us to pick up the waylaid stones and pieces of our callings we'd set to the side during our studies and re-commit to moving forward on those "impossible dreams" that first led us to pursue ministry.
More on my own circuitous route in the next few weeks remaining at CUUC until the June 17th service.
In the meantime, I leave you with these questions to ponder:
What dreams have you set aside in order to accomplish other goals? How might you re-claim them?
How do you keep the gifts of your dreams and accomplishments moving in the world?
What in the world requires the best of your humanity and embodied intelligence?
If not us, then who?