Today is the last day of classes at HPU for the semester.
It has been a long semester, with several mountains and valleys. But life is like that, isn't it? I have attained several of my personal and professional goals, and yet I have watched as several goals have alluded me. My students have likewise realized or not realized their goals. At times the classroom learning environment - especially in theology, where we talk about personal beliefs - can be like a roller coaster ride. People are alternately thrilled and nauseated by the experience!
In all of this "realization," "attainment" and "education" process, however, I realize that there is one important intangible - relationship. I have been making relationships marked by a passion for Christ. I have been making relationships marked by a love of learning. I have been making relationships marked by grace. I have been making relationships that will last years beyond our semester together in the classroom and for that I am grateful.
In that I have been making relationships, I realize how important relationships are. We simply can't take them for granted. Relationships must be nurtured and cultivated or they will die. Relationships must be pruned or they will over grow healthy boundaries and become a liability rather than an encouragement. I get it now as I've never gotten it before. I want my relationships to thrive and be full of love, grace and beauty.
Jesus was the master of relationships. He understood the dynamics of interpersonal relations. I love the Gospel of John for precisely those reasons. He knew people, he knew how to love, but He also understood the need for boundaries and when boundaries had to be torn down. Above all, He dispensed love, forgiveness and grace throughout His walking ministry on this earth. He was as loving, kind and forthright with the Samaritan Woman in John 4 as He was with Nicodemus the Pharisee in John 3. In Luke 10 He relays what it means to love your neighbor as yourself in the story of the "Good Samaritan"... In the passion narratives, He asks the Father to "forgive them, for they know not what they do." Jesus knew people, Jesus is love. He is the master of relationships.
My last class of the semester meets today - doxology. I am taking them to the Sonic Drive-In. We will celebrate the semester and the bond of our relationship. Let me encourage you to celebrate and encourage those in your life whom you love and cherish. It's what God does.