E-pistle June 12

Ready to Step Up

PotterDuring Sunday’s worship we will recognize the graduates of the Class of 2009.  Over thirty high school, college and graduate school students will be recognized for their recent achievements. It is, as we say, right and good to acknowledge the students and to thank God for the milestones reached. 
Our English word graduate comes from the Latin gradus for step and has connotations of moving up – one more step, one more notch.  We congratulate on graduates for having done all that needs to done in order to move up to the next step – another degree or the beginning of new vocation.
In Brazil, where Becky and I have many friends, a graduation is called a formatura.  Formatura is Latin-based Portuguese word; forma, to shape, mold or form.  A graduate, a formado or formada, is one who has been formed or shaped and is now ready to do that for which they have been prepared. 
The two words from the two cultures paint a helpful picture.  The members of the class of 2009, diplomas in hand, are ready to step up.  That is, we have high expectations for them.  High school, college or grad school was a time of shaping and formation and now they are ready to step up to the next challenge – a trade or a vocational school, college, graduate school or the beginning of a career.  That’s why bureaucrats and academicians call graduations commencements – more a beginning than an ending.   
Ready to step up is a biblical concept, too.  Isaiah borrows the image of the clay and the potter to describe God’s forming, shaping work in our lives.  The Apostle Paul speaks of the Christian life as a response to the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
So, graduates of the Class of ’09, congratulations.  Enjoy the moment.  But it’s just a moment, and when the moment passes it will be time to step up.  The Potter has been at work, shaping and molding.  You’re ready to step up and do what he has prepared you to do and be who he has prepared you to be.  Sola Gloria Dei – to the glory of God alone.
See you Sunday