Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Graduates: The Remaining, Perpetual Test

   It is with great joy and pride that we present the names of those from within our congregation who are graduating this school year:
Michael Friend - Columbus Technical College
Tessa Fronzaglio - University of Georgia, in December 2011
Derek Hay - Columbus State University
Elizabeth Ledbetter - Central High School
Sara Renner - Columbus State University
Trevor Whittington - Hardaway High School
Completion of anything requires hard work and persistence. Graduation from high school and college is all of that and more. All of us can think back to assignments, exams, projects and tests. These graduates are surely relishing life without tests for a while. 
   Unfortunately, I would propose that some tests remain and are ongoing. They are tests from which none of us ever graduate. They define the quality of our lives. Evelyn Underhill wrote about them, 
If, then, we desire a simple test of the quality of our spiritual life, a consideration of the tranquility, gentleness and strength with which we deal with the circumstances of our outward life will serve us better than anything that is based on the loftiness of our religious notions, or fervor of our religious feelings. It is a test that can be applied anywhere and at any time. Tranquility, gentleness and strength, carrying us through the changes of weather, the ups and downs of the route, the varied surface of the road; the inequalities of family life, emotional and professional disappointments, the sudden intervention of bad fortune or bad health, the rising and falling of our religious temperature. This is the threefold imprint of the Spirit on the souls surrendered to his great action. The Spiritual Life (1936)
   Underhill proposes that tranquility, gentleness and strength are the grades for which we should strive. We could add peace and kindness, as well as faith, hope and love, but the point remains the same; this life will act in ways that hurt us, scare us, anger us, and confound us. How will we respond?
   I am discovering some truths that seem to apply over and again in the circumstances of life. They apply to my own journey, and lately, have been helpful to others in their journeys, too. We are all pilgrims traveling. One such truth goes like this: We cannot control how the world, or others in it, will act. Instead, only our reactions are under our control. I am more and more aware of how true this is and how it captures so much about our lives together, our relationships, and how we are seen by others. No matter what life throws at us, we are to constantly be on guard for how we respond. In many ways, these are the tests that perpetually remain with us.
   So, to our graduates and all who find themselves moving through life, may grace and peace be the scores you achieve on every test you take in life! Scott

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