Fuller, A Joyful Seminary
By Clint Le Bruyns (MAT '99)
To "rejoice in the Lord always" (Phil. 4:4) and to "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thess. 5:18) were classic texts for many of us as young Christians. It just seemed the right, Christian attitude. Now, more than 20 years later, I have come to appreciate this attitude as a provocative declaration and intentional commitment of faith in a world confronted with a vast array of social, political, economic, and existential challenges. Fuller alumni/ae serve Christ and his Church in such contexts where joy and thanksgiving cannot be taken for granted.
The commencement of a new year at Fuller with all its festivity, newness, and promise offers us all an opportunity to renew our attitudes to God and the world. Josef Pieper's classic reflection on festivity is aptly titled In Tune with the World (1965). He talks about celebration as living on affirmation, "on the basis that all is well with the world and life as a whole," that life is "meaningful in spite of everything." Moreover, this is precisely what worship is about; the praise of God involves intense, unconditional affirmation of life. The abundant life is one of "renewal, transformation, restoration, rejuvenation, rebirth." We all could share stories about Fuller as a place where memories of deep, vibrant joy were birthed through our studies, professors, family, friends, and experiences.
As alumni/ae today, we are participating in the manifold ministries of Christ and his church--in the face of the manifold miseries of this world--because of our confidence in God, from whom all joy and blessings flow. It is God's world, so let us rejoice in the Lord always and give thanks in all circumstances. For this celebration is by no means wishful thinking but rather, as theologian José Comblin puts it, "the joy of certainty of victory, and of the conviction that our liberty, our solidarity, our present friendship, are the beginning, now, of what is waiting for us." Let us continue to enjoy life and Fuller as worship to our joyful God who promises past, present, and future joy for all.