Members of the Perkins community gathered virtually on April 28 to bid farewell to graduating students and retiring faculty members with a Sending Forth Service held via Zoom. More than 100 people were in attendance, including some 2020 graduates.
Student JaeJun Daniel Cho presented the Gospel reading, Luke 4:18-30, followed by a sermon by Isabel Docampo, Director of the Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity, on “Some Thoughts on the Good News and Salt.”
“Remember that we are not the first generation to face a historic moment; it just happens to be our moment,” she said. “Jesus exhorts us today to remain faithful. He uses the metaphor of salt. If salt loses its taste, it can’t be restored. It’s not good for the soil or the manure pile! It’s thrown away. But now the whole world is asking this, ‘Has Christianity today lost its saltiness? Will Christianity be salt to the world or will it be thrown away – not fit for even the manure pile?’”
Docampo’s sermon continued: “It is in those moments, when we truly see one another, and tend to our mutual wounds that we meet God, and are sealed together as sister and brother. It is when we become God’s salt for the world. We find boldness to offer Good News… We understand that our salvation, our proximity to God, Her love and Justice, is found in the mutuality of love and forgiveness. We embody the Good News!”
(Watch Docampo’s sermon here.)
Following the anthem, “I Dream a World,” sung by a virtual choir directed by Lucas Eaton, Wes Allen led prayers for members of the Perkins community – the graduating students, those retiring, those beginning internships and research leaves, those preparing to begin their studies at Perkins – as well as the world, the church and those who are suffering.
Forty-one graduating students, including some who graduated in 2020, and two retiring faculty members, Evelyn Parker and Isabel Docampo, came “forward” to the center of the Zoom screen, repeating the words, “I come to seek God’s blessing and your prayers.” A faculty or staff member then responded to each: “Go in peace, to love and serve God.” Words of blessing were also offered for retiring faculty member Billy Abraham and retiring staff member Duane Harbin.
“Our moment in history to take up the baton from the faithful ones who have gone before us has arrived,” Docampo said. “And soon, before we know it, the time will come when we are to pass the baton to those behind us. God has entrusted us to be a community that pours out Her generous, overflowing cup of love so that future generations will be able to pass it on. We are called to live in the power of God’s love and hope.”