from Psalm 127
These words from Psalm 27 are the “opening sentences” for each day’s office of morning prayer in Celtic Daily Prayer. They provide wise counsel for those who are immersed in theological study and have come to mind for me as we begin this first full week of classes in the Fall 2012 term. Professors and students have attended the initial class sessions of the semester. Assignments have been recorded on calendars. Internships are or soon will be under way. Students in clinical pastoral education have begun visiting patients and either are this week or soon will be presenting verbatim reports and exploring theological and vocational identities with their supervisors. Faculty members are rediscovering for another academic year the rhythms of lecturing and grading and are busy with research projects, appointments, and committee meetings. Staff persons continue to plan events and provide invaluable leadership and support. A new academic year has begun.
In the midst of chaotic daily schedules and the stresses of academic deadlines and other life responsibilities, perhaps we can imagine the voice of the Psalm 27 poet asking us: What is the most important thing that you are asking of and seeking from God as you undertake this work of theological education? What is the source of your calling to ministry or this educational process?
Celtic Daily Prayer is the prayer book of Northumbria Community. Influenced by monastic communities at Roslin in Scotland and Clonfert in Ireland, the Northumbria Community was founded in in the late 1970’s and describes itself as a contemporary “network of diverse people, from different backgrounds, streams and edges of the Christian faith.” The Community draws on the spiritual traditions of monasticism and understands itself to be rooted in the history and heritage of Celtic Northumbria. The geographically dispersed members of the ecumenical Community use their publication, Celtic Daily Prayer, to stay connected to each other and centered on the values and practices of what they call a “new monasticism.” Like daily offices in other traditions, Celtic Daily Prayer emphasizes praying with the Psalms and encourages morning, midday and evening prayer. Psalm 27 marks each morning of the Northumbria Community’s life rhythms. As we begin our first full week of theological work at Wake Forest University for the fall 2012 term, perhaps we can consider again how important it is that our life rhythms include not only study but also prayer, rest, and awareness of beauty.
Another daily office, this one from the New Zealand Book of Common Prayer, includes in its Night Prayer these words:
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
What has not been done has not been done.
Let it be.
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
new joys, new possibilities.
In your name we pray. Amen.
Night follows day follows night as we move through the weeks of each semester of work and learning. During this September week of sunrises and sunsets, may we “let be” both what has been done so far and what has not yet been done even as we continue to undertake our shared mission “to be agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion in Christian churches and other ministries” (from the School of Divinity Mission Statement).
A Word about the University Learning Assistance Center: Wake Forest University has an excellent Learning Assistance Center. Students who want to improve their academic performance will find a range of resources through the Center, including academic counseling and study skills and time management coaching. Also, any student who has a documented disability can consult with persons on the Center staff to discuss possible services and accommodations. Additional information about the Learning Assistance Center can be found here.
The University Writing Center offers support to students who want additional support as they undertake written assignments. The Center is staffed by undergraduate and graduate students who “act as an audience for students’ writing” (from the Writing Center website). Writing Center tutors will consult with students during any stage of the writing process. More information about the Writing Center can be found here.
|Last day to add classes (with permission)||September 12|
|Last day to drop classes (with permission)||October 3|
|Application for Multicultural Context for Ministry Travel Courses due||September 19|
|Incomplete work from past term due to instructor||September 27|
Blessings on the week ahead,
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
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Photography by Ken Bennett, University Photographer