This invite signified the beginning of the end of a twelve year journey. This journey began for me in the end of the winter or early spring of 2006, with me being awakened out of a deep sleep by the call of my name with a sense of urgency. After running to see who was calling me for the second time, I was told to ask God what it is He wanted from me by one of my daughter's nurses. I was being called to be a minister.
In that moment, The Holy Spirit reminded me that the same calling was given to me ten years prior, however, because I was focused on my superficial self and not my spiritual, I did not believe I was really being called. As a matter of fact I literally told myself that I was tripping, which began a series of changes in my life. These changes to me seemed be pushing me further and further away from the church, however, little did I know they were the exact experiences needed to bring me closer to God, which by default made me not only a part of the church, but one it's most staunch advocates.
This season of my life in which God has allowed the culmination of my formal seminary education to take place has not been lost on me either. From the moment I heard my graduation would take place on May 11, which was a week after my youngest daughter Anise's prom, and a week before The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle, I knew there was significance in both my personal life, and the global life that marks the historical context that I am a part of.
It's personal impact was felt, welcomed, and celebrated, because May 4, 2018 was a really big day for my family and especially Anise who has special needs. It was the day she went on prom! Something prior to a year ago I didn't think she would ever do.
While her challenges would prohibit her from partaking in other milestone celebrations in life like most people, such as getting a driver's license, college graduation, or a wedding day, she had the opportunity to go through all of the cultural celebration of the American High School Prom, as it's done in the Black context. Her day was complete with the fancy dress, high heel shoes, the glamorous hair, decorations, pictures and her very own theme music to exit the house.
Two weeks later history was made with The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle, the Duke and Dutches of Sussex. The rebellious prince of England, as he has been known throughout much of his young adult life and a bi-racial (black) actress from the state of California, in the US, became husband and wife. The union between these two people has so much to offer in the sense of the many messages presented through the optics of their union. Given the two very different backgrounds, the inclusivity alone is phenomenal. The message of love over all is at the very surface of their union. Nothing seemed to matter to the prince nor to his bride besides the fact that they wanted to be together. The wedding itself was the perfect blend of Royal Tradition and Black American Christian Culture.
There was a black choir that sang "Stand By Me", a song created by Ben E. King a R&B songwriter from the sixties. As well as the St. George's Chapel Choir that contained quite a few young black boys. There was a black woman bishop who offered prayer after the nuptials and a nineteen year old black cellist, that led the orchestra. As delightfully surprising as all of that was a midst the Gothic design of a six-hundred year old chapel, nothing stood out more for me being an official theologian, as the sermon delivery of The Most Reverend Michael Curry.
The Most Reverend Michael Curry is the 27th presiding Archbishop of the Episcopal Church, and he delivered a most fitting sermon about Love during the wedding ceremony. He was many of the things I learned a preacher should be in seminary. He was authentic, he had a theme, he tied the contemporary, into the biblical (which made the text relevant), he even accentuated his points by connecting it scientifically (which showed he reads more than the bible), and at it's core the message was directly and indirectly pointing us back to Jesus. Again, as an official theologian, all of this is significant to me.
There are no coincidences in God. He strategically plans everything and as of a week ago, I transitioned from Master's candidate to Master of Divinity, and I witnessed this historic event with the eyes of theologian. One who is no longer just a student but one who is both a life long learner and one who engages in or is an expert in theology. Because of my training all of the nuances of today's ceremony had meaning for me. I understood their importance, and became excited about them.
My graduation was the end of an era and the beginning of a new season as was this royal union. We as a global community are moving into a new period of time, where reconciliation is going to take place. I for one am looking forward to it and the endless possibilities it brings.....