This week I have been seeing a lot of status updates on Facebook about last papers turned in and receiving invitations to multiple ordinations. Suddenly, I realized that this year's graduating class from Virginia Theological Seminar is the last class of students that I studied with. It's amazing how fast the years have come and gone. I can still remember showing up to campus and meeting this new class that had already formed such a strong bond with each other.
I must say that seeing all these Facebook events for ordination services has me so excited for the future of the church. Sadly, I will not be able to attend most of them, but I will definitely be keeping the entire class in my prayers as they get ready for commencement and ordination. This past year has been difficult for those of us with ties to VTS, and I can only imagine that difficulty being magnified for the current students.
Back in October, the 200+ year-old chapel at VTS burned down. A Google image search of VTS chapel fire will bring up sad results. The chapel was more than just a worship space. It was a place where future leaders of the church were formed. It was a place where the entire community would gather together to celebrate our common life. Looking at the pictures today, I still struggle with the loss, not of a physical space, but of a spiritual and sacred space. The plans for what will be done with the ruins of the 1881 chapel have just been released. If that were not enough, a member of this year's graduating class passed away less than 2 weeks ago. It is sad to think of how much has been lost this past year.
With all of this sadness, my prayer is that this year's graduating class never lose sight of hope. Though the chapel has been lost, the message over the stained glass window behind the altar is still in our hearts: Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.
VTS Class of 2011, God's blessing be on you all and guide your footsteps all the days of your life.