School and Studying and Not Studying and All That

So, we’re heading into the homestretch of this intensive term.
One sermon down, one more sermon and two more papers for Preaching class.
Two papers and a “debate” for Genesis class.
Leading chapel and a Grammar party tomorrow
Gotta do some laundry
Oh, and there are a handful of chapters to read and an aleph-bet to learn.

I suppose when I start mapping it all out like that, it’s a lot. No, it just is a lot.
But there’s something energizing about being here with my school chums. Even as we are exhausted and just shy of overwhelmed, we are reminded that we really are in it together. We really are a cohort, and we are committed to one another’s making it through.

This marks 5 of the 10 times we will meet on campus before graduation. We are starting the 5th of 10 semesters in the program. We are almost halfway to the MDiv. More importantly, we are taking some important steps of faith together.

We laid ourselves on the line the last couple of days- pouring ourselves into a sermon to be critiqued by people we love and respect. But that is almost more intimidating than preaching to a sanctuary full of strangers. And yet, as we each struggled – either with the writing or the delivery – we held one another in prayer. We willed one another to persevere and do well.

I think the last time we all felt that way was on the ropes course during our orientation.
To be sure we have struggled in different classes. But that was almost always alone, in our individual homes, during the regular online semester. Other classes in person have been pretty light in class (instructors save the papers for post-load, it seems). This time, the truth was there for all to see.

I’m thankful for my ability to write and my love for words. I am so glad God gave me this wacky perspective and creative energy. I’m less thankful for the fact that I can be overly self-aware, which only adds fuel to embarrassment or nervousness. All the work I do to put the right words in the right place- it’s all too easily undone by fidgets, word pacing and forgetting to breathe. For some friends, it was a breeze to stand and deliver, but the writing and organization was difficult.

In the end, I trust that our next sermon – and all those that will follow – will show improvement. And that they will be affirming of each of our calls to be faithful pastors and eventful preachers in the kingdom.

Meanwhile, all this thinking and emailing and calling to check in on family at home, and whatever else fills those hours between dinner and true studying? It’s not all that helpful. But boy does it feel good to give the neurons a break from theology!


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