End of an era

This is the email I sent to the St Johns College Community after my final day today…

Dear college community,

Firstly, thank you for the farewell today. It was a splendid occasion and I have appreciated the opportunity to put a marker in the ground, to farewell this place.

I know I mumbled something today at lunch, but I wonder if you would grace me with me the space here to say a little more. (If not, feel free to stop reading immediately.)

Genesis 28:16-17 “When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place!’

I spoke of the importance to me of being aware of the call of God to be at St Johns. And God has not brought us here as some sort of cruel joke or punishment. God is at work, in us and among us. We can trust that. Sometimes faith is a matter of hanging in there, trusting the process.

I know that God has been at work on me during my time at St Johns. I know I have grown. At times that process has been painful. At times it has been very dry. Other times it is pure frustration.

But we hang in there. Because God has called us here. And God is at work.

But more than just hanging in, we pursue God’s work. We break bread together daily. We speak words of life to each other. We listen to scripture together. We pray for each other. Sometimes in our despondency it can be easy to ask, “What’s the minimum standard I can give at St Johns?” I implore you to pursue the ways of God – energetically, expectantly, relentlessly. If God is at work in this place, I don’t want to be the one dragging my feet.

When I arrived at St John’s I had in my head that I was arriving to work through a degree and a diploma. But that’s not accurate. We are here to be formed more into the people that God is calling us to be. While being formed we might do some academic work. Hopefully both feed into each other.

My goal at St Johns has been the same – to leave this place even more in love with Jesus than when I arrived. Loving Jesus is not a destination we arrive at, but a journey that we embark on. It’s glorious.

Philipians 1:9 “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight…”

So please pray for me as I head to Pahiatua as I commit to pray for you. Please do feel free to drop in and say hi. There is a spare bed waiting for you.

And may God’s transforming presence continue to guide you, to inspire you and to draw you close as you journey through this place.


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