A “Go With God” moment.
For 105 of our seniors, this will be the final Monday Memo and the last time I will write to you (at least as a student). It’s difficult for me to express to you in words how proud of you I am. Just think of all that you have accomplished in the last 4 years, you have tackled the impossible; reading all the assigned books (well, most of them anyway), written countless papers, and attended class after class (upwards of 1800 by my count). But in the end, that is simply what you have done. I am proud of who you have become. You know, Being vs. Doing. The joy of being a professor comes as we watch the transformation which takes place inside of you between your freshmen and your senior year. Child psychologists tell us that the greatest spurt of human development takes place between birth and 18 months. But we know the greatest spiritual development takes place from the time you begin making your own decisions for Jesus (can you say, “freshmen year at IWU”). We as your professors have the delight to watch you do this for four consecutive years. Yes, you made many poor decisions. But each time picked yourself up and moved forward, leaning into the voice of Jesus, following ever more intently. May I simply say, “Thank you for letting us, your faculty watch the Lord work in your life.”
Much of your post-IWU life will be learning how to lean into the future God has for you, rather than timidly approaching God’s plans. That is why in the past several weeks, I have been talking about looking ahead to Pentecost, (May 23rd), preparing yourself for the arrival of the Spirit just like you may be gearing up for the summer or graduation. We have talked about several biblical passages that discuss the gift of Pentecost, but can I give you one huge observation that the early church put forward to speak about Pentecost as being the high-point of a Christian’s life. Read the Apostles Creed.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth, and
in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit;
the one holy unified church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.
I am certain that you quickly notice that the creed is broken into three stanzas, one to each member of the Holy Trinity. But did you also note that the statements about the Father and the Son simply describe what they have done. It is not until we get to the third stanza pertaining to the Holy Spirit that we are told in rapid fire succession what is appropriated for us through the salvation of God; the gift of the Church, the fellowship of the body, the forgiveness of our sins, our own resurrection and eternal life. Chris Bounds said it to me this way, “What is conceived at Easter was not received until Pentecost.”
So, as you prepare for Pentecost this year, think of it as a means of leaning into your life of faith, “receiving the Holy Spirit” as Jesus offered in John 20. May He infuse you with Himself.
May we receive all You have for us, without hesitation.
May we ingest Your goodness and may it saturate our very being.
May we conquer our temptations in our own desert places just as powerfully as You did.
May we be empowered to love You and one another fully.
May Pentecost be a present day reality.
Now, Go with God.