Yesterday was a day of endings and beginnings. At 12 noon I finished my last class at the School of Theology and Ministry, Seattle University. I still am not quite sure what that means to me but, to the school it means I have completed all of the requirements to complete my Masters of Divinity and actually could graduate. So it could mean that ordination in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is somewhere around the corner, at least as soon as the all important ordination paper is finished. Or it could mean I am going to enter some other ministry that doesn’t require ordination but is just as important to God as being ordained. My husband, bless his heart for his support in the last 5 years, wants me to spend time with him and the critters that live with us. Actually I think he has an ulterior motive, such as taking over cooking and housecleaning because he’s the one been doing those chores since I began this crazy trip.
But in reality God has already planned, at least, my near future and the near future for John. Graduation and ordination will have to wait because we are going to Switzerland in September where I will study at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey Switzerland for four and half months, pursuing a graduate degree in Ecumenical Studies. For those of you who don’t know about the Ecumenical Institute, it is the educational arm of the World Council of Churches. Students from all over the world come to study the history, theology, and ethics of ecumenism as they live, study and play with each other in a unique community at Bossey.
This is a great honor the School of Theology and Ministry (STM) is giving me, because they and the Disciples Council on Christian Unity are sending me on this amazing adventure. It is a gift I did not expect and one I would not have pursued on my own because at 65 I believed younger people should have this opportunity. But my school, denomination, and yes God, believe differently.
I still cannot tell you what I make of all of this, but Jesus says “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust in me also.” (John 14:1) If Jesus says don’t worry, I guess I won’t worry. You might be saying this isn’t what most Disciples would say, and you just might be right. But, in the last five years (actually it’s more like the last 13 years) I’ve learned a thing or two about patience and trusting in God’s time rather than mine. God can be persistent when I am reluctant to go in a particular direction. This is the reason I waited until I was 60 before I started this degree! God kept asking, I kept saying “you’ve got to be kidding” and went and did what wanted. But, God is very patient and keeps pushing even when I say no. Let’s face it God just wore me down! Now I am about to do a new thing, yes I know I’m plagiarizing from Isaiah, and the reason is God says this is the path I want you to take, and quite honestly I’m just not going to fight this one, besides who turns down a trip to Switzerland. I will trust that God has some plan for my return and even though I don’t know what that is I am certain I will have something to do.
So what did I mean by “endings and beginnings?” Well, I may have ‘ended’ my time at STM but I am ‘beginning’ another adventure without knowing anything more than it is a beginning. It also means that even for someone who is at the age of retirement there is always something new just around the corner. You simply have to trust in the process of life God has so graciously gifted us with.
One thing I know is I want to take all of you on this adventure with me and I will be blogging about this trip through my time at the Ecumenical Institute. This is way too important to keep to myself and way too much fun. I need to share my thoughts and this is as good a place as any I know of. I would ask that you keep me in your prayers as John and I travel and live in a new environment. We will do the same for you as you travel your paths. Life can be funny, it has many twists and turns, it can be risky and somewhat scary but I guarantee it is never boring.
Peace to you
Ruth Jewell, ©July 21, 2012