Saturday, May 31, 2008

Go Ye Into All the World

That's what you look at every day for three years as a student at Virginia Theological Seminary. The far wall of the seminary chapel (circa 1880, and neo-Gothic in a creaky, worn-out sort of way) is dominated by a large stained-glass window of Jesus giving this direction to the eleven disciples just prior to his Ascension.

Now once you get past the intriguing question of ... is that apostle there to the left really Peter, or Robert E. Lee standing in for Peter, and doesn't that bearded one up on the right look like Stonewall Jackson? Once you settle down for three years' worth of pretty solid Morning Prayer done with little to no fanfare, there's not much to do but focus on that wall and focus on those words.

The message was originally placed there to inspire generations of budding clergy to a kind of evangelical zeal. But in later years, the message confronts others, not just candidates for ordination ... lay students working on Masters of Theological Studies degrees, Christian educators working on Masters in Christian Education degrees, parishioners at Immanuel-on-the-Hill Episcopal, who worship in the seminary chapel, family members -- spouses, partners, children, parents -- who join their seminarian for worship, visitors from the wider Anglican Communion, bishops and presiding bishops.

The message is not just for Jesus' first disciples. It's not just for priests from Virginia Theological Seminary. It's a message for all of us.

+ Kit

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