This is the SALLT Signature commencement address.*
My husband, Jim, and I have a young philosopher living in our house. His name is Samuel and he is 8 years old. Recently I was tucking Samuel in and he said to me, “Mom, do you ever think that the world is really weird?” I laughed and said, “Yes, Samuel I think there is lots about our world that is weird but, what are you talking about?” He replied, “It’s just so weird how we live in this house, surrounded by all these common everyday items. They are all so common and every day.” Then he began to list some of these items. And then he said, “But mom, I have this weird feeling that there is more to this world than what I see.”
God has been speaking to me and it has everything to do with Oklahoma City becoming a city of Salt and Light. Listen and see with your spiritual senses. I am a visual artist and a painter. My most recent work led me down the ancient path of our faith. I gathered images, signs and symbols from the history of Christianity. As I was working in my studio, I was struck by the reality that our faith is ancient, and even more so that I, WE, are connected to the story of the ages. Although I don’t see this connection with my physical eyes it is nonetheless a reality. What I began to see is that the ages are connected. There are always things flowing through history from generation to generation. The prayers of history are not dead; they are alive and well. In many ways, we as Christians, sit in the shade of the planting of previous generations. We are connected to the story of the ages. We have a place within the story of the ages.
Hebrews 11 shows us the heroes of our faith and what God had promised them YET “they did not receive the promises”. It says they welcomed the promises and greeted them from afar, but they did not receive them. Why? It says that apart from us they they would not be made perfect. It was those who followed them that received their promises. We not only participate in the faith of those who have gone before us, but we complete it. And as we labor today, future generations will complete our faith.
This awareness is changing me. Because I’m no longer looking at my common, everyday life, but I’m surveying the horizon I have with an unrelenting passion for the church. I want the church to be beautiful and I don’t just mean with pretty pictures. I want the church to radiate beauty because beauty awakens us. When I look at the church, I’m not always encouraged, but when I look here in my city, what I see is breathtaking.
I may not receive this, I may only greet it from afar, but that’s ok because I understand--I have a place within the ages.
I pray we have the eyes to see that our labor it is not just for today, but it is for the church in the age to come as well.
Remember, in the midst of our common, everyday life there is more to this world than what we see.
*SALLT (Salt and Light Leadership Training) currently offers two tracks of training. One is the Signature class for ages 35 plus and the Young Leaders class for ages 25-35. Each year we have a graduation ceremony and this year Erin Shaw from the Signature class represented her fellow classmates. The following is a summary of her graduation address.
New Heavens, New Earth
(written as a gift to SALLT)
Music and Lyrics by:
©2015 Kyle Dillingham, LLC