Monday, July 13, 2015

Graduation Joys

Last Saturday proved to be a glorious Summer day for a delightful experience.  I returned with Carol to speak at Spurgeon's College Graduation.  We parked in neat rows on the main lawn and, grabbing gown and hood, headed towards the brightly decked crowds of graduands and families, posing for photographs and whooping with delight each time they spotted new friends.  After lunch we were driven to Croydon Minster in double-decker buses (by drivers who lost their way and needed local advice!)  Painstaking arrangements were sorted for seating and procession and we all lined up outside the main entrance for the Mayor to arrive.  A buzz of excitement circled around.

Far be it from me to comment on my address, except it was short and amplification meant I couldn't easily be heard at the back (where Carol sat)! But several things thrilled me to the core:
  • stories.  Time was taken to tell the story of each of the 55 students before they received their awards.  The range of experiences, of sacrifice, of achievement and of service was deeply moving and I could not have been closer as I shook hands with every single one, looking into their eyes and receiving their smiles.  It took over an hour but it was the highlight of the day, especially as families and churches celebrated with each in extravagant fashion. Wonderful.
  • singing.  The large church rocked with spectacular singing. Both old and new hymns took off with such enthusiasm.
  • network.  It never ceases to amaze me just how many connections spark into life in such a gathering. Of course, I met friends I had not seen since leaving Spurgeon's fifteen years ago, but many other meetings astonished me.  For one couple it was fifty-seven years ago that we were last together as students. I always marvel at the experience of belonging within the people of God. There's no sell-by-date.
So, a happy occasion and a genuine privilege.  Thank you to Spurgeon's for inviting me back and to the Lord for gracing the day with his joyful presence.

No comments: