One of the things that’s surprised me most about seminary so far is how busy it is. When I share this with friends, they usually just say, “Well, it is grad school!” But still, it’s caught me off guard. Between reading medieval theologians, writing essays, reviewing Greek flashcards, and attending various services, it seems like I have little time to do anything else but study. The busier I get, the easier it is to let my priorities shift. Recently, God has been convicting me of my misplaced priorities through a quote I came across from Karl Barth.
Near the end of his life, Barth, one of the greatest theologians in recent history, was asked to summarize what he had learned over his lifetime of theological study and contemplation. After thinking for a moment, Barth replied, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” When I read this, I was struck with a pang of guilt. In the busyness of seminary, God’s love was no longer my main focus. Without hardly realizing it, I had begun to care more about my ability to understand the gospel than I cared about the actual message of the gospel. Studying theology is extremely important, but it must always center on and lead to a deeper love of God. If I am not communicating God’s love to others, then my theology is pointless. Barth underst
ood what I had lost sight of: theology is all about God’s love.
With this in mind, God has been reminding me over and over again that theology cannot be separated from worship. Theology, as the study of God, must lead to worship, and our encounter with God in worship must also inform our theology. Worship is not just an important aspect of my spiritual life, but it is an important aspect of my theological studies. After reflecting on this and sharing it with my mentor, he challenged me to begin each day with a hymn of praise in order to start the day by adoring God. My favorite hymn of adoration right now is probably “Praise to the Lord the Almighty,” and so this is the hymn I have been worshipping to the most lately. I’m still pretty groggy when I get up in the mornings, but slowly it is becoming easier to begin with worship!
Thankfully, I am not in this alone. God has surrounded me by loving roommates and classmates who constantly point me to Christ. I am deeply grateful for the way they put up with me and remind me of God’s love. It is humbling to relearn the basics of the faith, but such a blessing to have a God gracious enough to let us do so.
Finally, I will work on posting more pictures soon. I keep forgetting to take pictures when I’m on campus, but I want to show y’all the beautiful place that I am studying. Next week is spring break for me, so I’ll try to post some pictures then. Until then, you are in my prayers.