Princeton Theological Seminary new student orientation has begun. It started off right with a service of worship. Lots of singing, the best sermon I've heard in a long time and tears.
Until recently, it took long pent-up emotion to have me in tears, but lately, all that's required is a well-placed worship song. During the service this afternoon we sang a Mozambican song called "Come, Worship Christ." As we sang the words "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! There is no one who will ever be like Jesus," I couldn't help but feel deliriously happy. Words are nuanced; to me, in that moment, the words of this song were like a deep sigh of relief. I can strive my whole life long to be like Jesus, and that's what I desire, but I will never even come close to the standard of love that he set...and that's okay! The thought made my voice quiver and break.
As we sang, raising our voices in community, I couldn't help but feel like I was home. Of the two-hundred or so people gathered, I had met only a handful, but it felt like every participant in worship was holding their arms open, ready to embrace our shared life, ready to continue the struggle, the journey, together. Coming together from places as far away as Myanmar, Thailand, Ghana and as close as north Jersey, Pennslvania, and Michigan, we all have the same goal: to honor and serve Christ and his body, the Church. That's powerful.
I've recognized several of my classmates as people who attended the same visit weekend as I did in February. I connected with these people and I'm glad to see them here again. One of my fellow Houghtonites sought me out at dinner. The last time we met it was awkward, this time was better. (RGR, he has a girlfriend...no worries :). Another student, with whom I've been corresponding this summer, also found me and we will be getting together soon to make some plans for the semester. Exciting stuff!
I have joy again and it's so happily overwhelming that my hard wrung tears are the only properly worshipful response. God has blessed me in this place. It will be difficult, there will be times I want to give up, but I'm here and I'm glad.