A Strong Foundation
by Amanda Borchik
Graduating MDiv Student
There is a rite of passage here at Campbell Divinity, a tradition of sorts, that happens for most of us during our first semester.
It begins in the Worship & Spiritual Formation class with an assortment of stones laid out on a table and an invitation to take one and leave it in a special place as a marker for your journey.
I remember watching my classmates carry their stones and name the place they planned to take it. Some took their stones to the church that nurtured their calling, some to a place on campus that brought them peace.
I thought about it for days, but I could never quite part with my tiny little rock. I carried it in my backpack for an entire semester. And then it came to live in the top drawer of my tall, red-stained dresser, where it has remained ever since.
It doesn’t sit there alone though. Over the last 4 years, I have added more stones to this corner space in the top drawer.
During my second semester, I walked the winding dirt roads at Camp Agape on my first spiritual retreat with my fellow students and picked up a dusty grey rock on a quiet walk of conversation with God, a reminder of the gift of prayer and community.
A year later, I swam in the calm Sea of Galilee, picking up smooth pebbles and seashells and a connection with the Son of God who became like us, and walked on the water to call us to courage and faith.
A few semesters passed and I found myself taking a walk at the end of a long day spent serving as a chaplain intern. As I processed the weight of this part of my journey, I knelt down by the lake and reached into the early evening shadows to pick up a new stone, a reminder that God was present even in the darkest places.
Two weeks ago, I added my last rock. During dinner on my last spiritual retreat as a student here, I received a milky-colored stone that molded perfectly to the curve in the palm of my hand, offered to me as a gift by my fellow students as a way to celebrate God’s delight in me.
And then there are all of these rocks I’ve added that I can’t physically hold in my hands. The ones that have come in the classrooms of Taylor Hall:
A love for the church, her history, her leadership, and the Great Tradition of our faith.
The ability to engage hard questions and still hold a child-like wonder at the captivating complexities of Biblical interpretation and theology.
Words to name my calling and the way ministry fits with how God has uniquely formed my journey.
Spaces, like Butler Chapel, where we worship and find ourselves at the feet of Jesus once again.
These stones, these rocks are my foundation.
And with this strong foundation, I will build.
I will build this beautiful body of Christ, for she is a bride worthy of my gifts and energy.
I will build the Kingdom, joining with Jesus in his mission to set those who are held captive free, breaking chains of shame and darkness, and bringing healing and resurrection to the graves many are living in.
I will build relationships, pouring into others what has been so generously poured into me in this place, giving the gift of compassion and understanding, celebrating the diversity of the body.
And as I build, God will continue to build me. He will continue to speak the words of truth my classmates here at Campbell Divinity have so often reminded me of: that I am a beloved child of God. That I am called. That there is hope for this world and you and I have the power to bear it for the world to see.
In two weeks, I’ll take the tiny rock and all of the big ones, too, to my office at Connections Church.
I know I’ll see them there and be reminded of how God has prepared me for the journey ahead and that he will be faithful in leading me forward.
Thanks be to God for this strong foundation.