Saturday we spent part of the afternoon celebrating the birthday of one of our seminarians. As a surprise to him, his parents made the drive from Louisiana. In greeting, we called out, ‘Welcome home,’ as they arrived. These words we say to our guests and fellow students whether they are new to Nashotah House or returning for study or retreat. Welcome is a kindly expression, a greeting, it is the word of politeness that your arrival is pleasing. It is an ancient word that each language has its own version. We know from a very young age what it means to feel welcome and to be welcomed home.
Nashotah House is our ‘home’ for a season. This week we welcome our fellow students from Florida, Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, New York and New England. While their homes are far and near, they have arrived for a season and will return. They have arrived in order to go forth.
From welcome to going forth, this is the path we take. A path that has been repeated for centuries. From the poets, a young student in Ancient Greece would have learned to express with enthusiasm his indignation at meanness, feebleness, wrong, tyranny. He would learn the language suitable to every human emotion and impulse of the human heart.
He would learn idiom, poetic beauty, and develop an ear for rhythm and music.
He would learn the blessings of virtue and the curses of vice.
He would have a well-furnished memory.
He would learn character, the ideals of his country, and feel sympathy deeply.
All this before he memorized his alphabet.
But for them there was no welcome and for them life was often led from one battle to another.
For the Christian, life is different. For the Christian, life is delight. But the life is not simple since we face the reality in Christ that God is holy and He is just and we are not. Perfect life, perfect obedience, that was the life sought after by a virtuous Greek. That is why the world turned upside down when Jesus in perfection and in perfect obedience arrived in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God. And as we are reminded daily, it was costly. By grace, through faith, we are forgiven and restored (Jn 4:10; Acts 15:11; Eph 2:8).
As we anticipate the great Hosannas, let us remember to go forth. In the meantime, we will welcome people home.
That it may please thee to send forth laborers into thy
harvest, and to draw all mankind into thy kingdom,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. —
from The Great Litany, the Book of Common Prayer
Rebecca Terhune ’15