Thirty-one years after my graduation from Fuller Seminary I am keenly aware of how one of the seeds planted in the years I spent there continues to produce fruit. One of the unifying themes in my seminary education was the way the interplay of grace and gratitude gives shape to the Christian life. God in his grace has reached for and embraced humanity in Jesus Christ and the discipleship journey is sustained in part by our gratitude for this grace.
On October 10, as I participated in events surrounding Mark Labberton's visit to Seattle and the campus of Fuller Northwest, this unifying theme once again came into view. Mark's visit both rekindled my memories of grace received through my years at Fuller and inspired me to imagine the experiences of God's grace yet to be given. What's more, gratitude for both the legacy and the future of the seminary invites me to be attentive to and available for the work God is doing in and through Fuller.
I was grateful to be a part of the Fuller community as I listened to Mark talk about the seminary's dedication to the work of "connecting voice and touch." I was energized as I heard about such initiatives as rolling out a new MDiv curriculum, engaging the church through "Fuller's worldwide affinity network of 43,000 graduates" in the cause of advancing Christian discipleship, and embarking on the task of raising sufficient funds to accomplish, among other things, ten fully funded PhDs in each of the three schools each year. What I heard about was a vision for the seminary in which I could fully participate.
Yet what was most encouraging to me about Mark's words to us was his admission that he was the possessor of what he called "a gargantuan job" that has "staggering challenges." This Jesus who got his attention when he was a freshman at Whitman College is still inviting Mark to take risks. In admitting the magnitude of the task before him and also calling on all of us to be praying about and on the lookout for the next "bold move Fuller should be taking," Mark has invited the Fuller community to join him on an adventure. I'm looking forward to discovering just where that adventure will take us.