The month of May seems to be a time for blessing. Central Baptist Theological Seminary had a Graduating Sisters Blessing Ceremony on May 4, during which the women graduates were affirmed and encouraged. What a wonderful gift! I love this photo from the ceremony of Central’s president, Molly Marshall, and Tammy Jackson Gill.
Yesterday, McAfee School of Theology had a Service of Blessing for all its graduates, a service that included laying on hands. I imagine that most seminaries have held similar services in the last few weeks. What a gift for graduates!
The month of May also seems to a prime time for ordination services. I have been to one service already this month and have another one on my calendar for May 23. I walk away from every ordination with such powerful feelings of gratitude: gratitude for the ways in which God works; gratitude for the women and men who have heard and followed God’s calling; and gratitude for congregations, families, and friends who speak words of affirmation and love for the one called.
This semester I have been teaching as an adjunct at McAfee School of Theology. The class is church history, part two (it covers 1500 to the present, 500 years of good stories packed into about three months). I have had the good fortune of having Jane Hull in my class. Jane happens to be my friend so it has been odd being her professor, and to be honest, I may have taught her a few facts and dates about church history or introduced her to some new names and ideas, but I have not taught Jane how to be a minister. She already knew that when she walked in the classroom door. And one of many her ministry gifts is that of blessing. Jane knows the power of blessing. She easily and readily speaks words of affirmation.
All semester, but especially during the last few weeks, I have watched Jane in action with her fellow students. I have seen her place her hands on their shoulders. I have watched her look them straight in the eye. I have heard her offer words of blessing (okay, I admit to eavesdropping a few times when I had the chance). And today, I was the recipient of one of Jane’s blessings (professors need words of affirmation too). If blessing others is a spiritual gift, then Jane has it! But if blessing others is a learned lifestyle, she has mastered it. Either way, I am grateful for her words of blessing.