Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Inclusio

Last week, before telling our story in chapel, Alison and I were sitting in “Little Estes,” a small prayer chapel that is an off-shoot to Estes Chapel at Asbury Seminary. Little Estes is used for many kinds of meetings on campus. The chapel team will meet in here for prayer and discussion, while others call “sanctuary” from the rigors of life, looking for a quiet place to reflect, think, pray, seek solitude, and commune with God. This semester, in a group project, we filmed in Little Estes, a scene that takes place in heaven. It worked perfectly with her white washed walls. Others meet here for a prayer and healing ministry, and while there is a chapel service in progress, there is always a team of people that pray in this chapel while a worship service is taking place.
But for many, like Alison and myself, Little Estes acts as an inclusio, or bookends on our time in seminary. When we arrived on campus for a visit in November of 2001, we went on a campus tour. The tour ended when we along with the other campus visitors were taken down a quiet hallway into a small room with pews. We were met by our good friend JD, the Dean of Chapel. He came in, prayed over us, and welcomed us to campus. It was in this small prayer chapel that Alison and I would eventually call Asbury Seminary our home.
Last Tuesday, we found ourselves, once again in Little Estes’ half-pews, meeting with the other participants of that day’s chapel service, going over the schedule of events, just 15 minutes before we would tell our story to a chapel full of fellow students, co-workers, professors, friends, and the Board of Trustees that were meeting on campus that week. In walked JD, who welcomed us and told us,
“this week, the last services of the semester, telling your stories, this is what we have been working toward all year.”
He prayed for us, and then worship service began, we shared our story, and we are now preparing for our departure.
Our story at Asbury begins and ends in this small, modest prayer chapel, affectionately called “Little Estes,” by the community here. I have made numerous visits back here during my time as a student, as a prayer team member, as a film maker, as a person seeking sanctuary from the outside world, and as a child of God seeking to hear from my Father. Little Estes is like a port; it is where our ship came in and where it leaves from. This is a loading dock, a gathering place, a phone booth that connects directly to heaven, and for a brief moment in film making history, it was heaven.
Many people say that the “Big Estes” is the heart of campus, but I am beginning to think that it is Little Estes is overlooked in her role on campus. Perhaps this is place where the Spirit originates from on this campus. It was here that my heart was won over to come to seminary, and it was from here that God launches us into our call to service His kingdom. We have come full circle in our time here, and Little Estes is our reference point. We will set up stones of remembrance in Little Estes chapel.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Staying the Course

I have been a bad blogger, I admit this. It is not because my wife and my friends have been hounding me. At an outing with friends on Saturday, they all but berated me about it. Some accused me of going out of my way to not blog. I suppose that does sound like something I would do.

But alas, it is not something I have done on purpose, but instead, it has been my schedule that dictates lack of writing here among other things. You see, I am on a crash course to graduate from seminary in a few weeks, and this is why you haven't heard from me in six months. But in this time much has happened. Alison and I flew out to Kansas City in February for an interview. Since that time, I have talked to no less than a dozen other churches in search for a ministry position and there is nothing to really show for all the effort.

For a while, I began to think I might be going about things all wrong, and I began questioning a lot of things(this can be dangerous if you are not careful), until last week. A saint of a man and a magnificent professor of mine told me this, "Brandon, you need to stay the course and stick to your vision. This vision is yours and it has been entrusted to you by the Father."

On his album Clear to Venus, Andrew Peterson sums up how I have felt after this word I received.

The ocean is rolling and these waters are rough;
With the storm clouds brewing in the sky above,
Let my vessel be sturdy let my anchor be tough.
Cause the the clouds are known to gather,
And the wind is prone to blow,
I'll keep her steady as a river,
When the wild wind comes to blow;
I've already been delivered,
So I'll keep her steady as she goes.

Remembering that I have been delivered from sin, the world, and myself is difficult at times. But it is in remembering what our Father has done that gives strength to the weary, and hope to the desperate. The message of "stay the course," this was a word of encouragement that was much needed.