Monday, October 22, 2012

A weekend on memory lane

Bill and Sue Berger of All Saints
I saw friends at three events this weekend. The first honored Bill Berger, pastor in Seattle. Bill, who go Northwest's Regius Award, has been an inspiration because of his spiritual perseverance and love for his community.

Julia Young
Friday morning during NU's chapel, Julia Young, semi-retired faculty and student favorite, was given the Didaskalos Award, which annually has recognized outstanding professors over the last few decades. A scholarship named for TJ Bulger, who started the alumni department at NU, made the event a done-deal for me. TJ consistently offered encouragement, hugs, and good counsel during my tenure as Alumni Director.

ThoraJean Bulger (left), being thanked by students and
friends for her work in securing alumni scholarships
The highlight of the weekend was my all-day college choir reunion. Our conductor flew in from Ontario and many of us came some distance. We attended the alma mater over 30 years ago so we're in our 50s and 60s.

W and I picked up supplies and food the night before, and drove up early Saturday to set up and cook lunch. We ate lasagne, salad, garlic bread (except for my vegan option) - and consumed salty and sweet snacks to fuel the afternoon of stories and prayers.

Betty-Lou, Rosemarie, Melody, Sylvia, and Don
My mom and dad stopped by for a few hours to hear how those kids who dropped by their house became adults. It took a lot of cooking and cleaning by many willing volunteers (thanks to my mom, too). Rod Bitterman, first-year Harmie and current pastor, opened his church in Chilliwack, BC, set up tables, and made sure we'd cleaned up afterwards. (We would have donated to the college if they had made room for us.)

Elmer and Sherry Komant,
missionaries to Rwanda

Looking at the faces of friends and faculty, it's plain to see that life has taken unexpected turns. There have been great accomplishments, spiritual highs, and rewards. But there have also been devastating losses, surprises of pain, illness, and grief, and challenges that could have ruined our walk of faith.

Here we are, by the grace of God. "Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine with 10,000 beside," says the hymnwriter.

Praying with and for each other
Through every dark valley or steep mountain climbs, whether overlooking the beautiful vistas when life seems whole and perfect ... or thinking the next step would plunge us into an abyss, God has accompanied and blessed us with his loving presence. Each day, he provided strength and grace enough.

Alumni directors from secular universities complain about the drinking and carousing that happens at alum events. (Mind you, drunk alumni are more generous than those who are sober.) Those of us from Christian institutions gratefully honor our own alums, faithful people who impact communities, raise good citizens, and spread God's love wherever they go.
From 1974-77 faculty and students to 2012 friends:
WPBC Harmonnaires

Read more:
*It was not because you were more numerous than any other people that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you—for you were the fewest of all peoples. It was because the Lord loved you. Deuteronomy 7:7-8

*(Boaz said,) "I … know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers. May the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done."
Ruth 2:11–12

*When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3-4 NIV

*God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduced to nothing things that are. 1 Corinthians 1:28

Moravian Prayer: O God of wisdom, God of love, you have chosen us and we are your people. Enduring God, may the world see that we are yours by the love we spread into our communities. Amen.

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