Monday, April 14, 2008

Remembering and Reflection

All my life's a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
Moon rolls thru the nighttime;
Till the daybreak comes around.

All my life's a circle;
But I can't tell you why;
Season's spinning round again;
The years keep rollin' by.
Harry Chapin

A couple of days ago, I received the sad news that The Rev. Churchill Gibson, Jr., Chaplain Emeritus of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS), had died. The funeral service for him was Saturday. Not quite a year ago, we lost another VTS luminary, Professor Jim Ross. I am coming to realize several things more and more as we begin to hear of deaths of faculty members that I had while I was a student. First, that I am rapidly approaching fifteen years since I left the Holy Hill. Second, that my class (Class of 1995) was, in many ways, one of the linchpins, or transitional, classes at VTS. We were one of the last classes to have class in Aspinwall Hall, were the first class to have the new (now former) Dean Martha Horne as our dean, and were essentially the last class to have an entire roster of professors that had been there many years, sometimes decades!

I recall first hearing the lyrics to the above song at Boy Scout camp, specifically Camp Oljato near Fresno, California. The camp was one of the formative experiences of my life, and the song spoke of years behind and years to come. More than two decades later, it is interesting to me that the song lyrics have stayed with me. Perhaps it is the just-past-40-years-old reflective part of me, but seeing seminary professors move on and then, eventually, die, has put me in a much more reflective mood of late. That sense of the web of relationships that I've formed over the decades, and my knowledge that I've kept in touch with fewer and fewer people from my past, is really causing me to pause and take stock. Not sure where this will lead, but God surely has something in mind!