I live in a dorm on campus while I attend seminary. I live in an intentionally diverse community, in a small liberal university, in a small town, with a lovely quaint little downtown. To locate a big box store requires navigating a major interstate highway. The most common speed limit on the roads that I drive is thirty-five miles per hour. I am surrounded by a wonderful community of people from all over the world. A community of people of every culture you can imagine, we are diverse in age, and faith tradition, sexual orientation, and class. We come from small towns and big cities. We become Facebook friends to get to know each other and we work very hard at pronouncing each other’s names correctly. We are liberal and conservative, environmentally conscious, socially aware; we stand up for truth and justice, mercy and tolerance. We learn together and pray together saying the Lord’s Prayer together each in our own language. We sing in different languages, but we all know the song. We are all of these things for a precious moment in time that we know will not last forever but we so truly wish we could change the world to match our wonderful cocoon!
School will change us however, we will learn, we will grow, we will be expanded beyond our own comfort zones and then we will be sent out, out into the world, out of the cocoon. Into churches and classrooms, and some of us back to a country we have missed all along. Sent to teach, preach, serve, love, sent to spread the gospel. To spread the gospel in a world that is not tolerant, not welcoming, not inclusive, and in so many cases not ready to learn the things we will so desperately want to teach. We will come into this world with our wonderful idealistic view of community that we have learned to live in and we will be smacked with the realities we knew existed all along but sincerely wished had changed while we enjoyed our cocoon.
We thank God for this precious time in our lives. Time to deepen our relationship with God and develop the discipline needed to carry us through the work God has in mind for us. For myself and my first year fellow students we will forever remember making the decision to follow God to this place. We will remember the hard choices made to come here and the people who have helped us to make it this far in our pursuit of being able to truly follow God wherever the call takes us. We will truly be able to answer with a resounding YES when God asks; Will you come and follow me if I but call your name? Will you go where you don't know and never be the same? Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known, will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?
Words: John L. Bell & Graham Maule, copyright © 1987 Wild Goose Resource Group/ WGRG, Iona Community, Glasgow G2 3DH, Scotland. Melody: 'Kelvingrove', Scots traditional. Reproduced by permission.
Written by John Bell of the Iona Community, and sung by Robert Kochis.