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Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

by The Rev Beth Knowlton on May 03, 2023

Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”
—from John 14:1-14

This Sunday has become one of my favorites of the year, while also being one of the most bittersweet. It is the Sunday we acknowledge and hear from our graduating seniors. The longer I’m here, the more years I’ve had the privilege of seeing these amazing young people grow up. While I hope and trust we’ve all made an important impact in their lives, I also want to say that they change who we are. Whether they are serving within our community or in our city, they are part of our parish ministry in profound ways. Watching them grow in spiritual depth is a privilege of our common life. They are not afraid to ask the big questions, and they trust us enough to engage with our answers. 

We’ve had a tradition of hearing senior reflections on their experience of the St. Mark’s community. This year we will hear from five amazing individuals split between the 9 and 11:15 services. All of these young adults have had long and active ministries here at St. Mark’s. I’m always touched by the depth of their experience and the real grief we feel as we send them off to their next season. The mirror they hold up to us reminds us how community forms everyone. While it is hard to send them off, it is wonderful to have them return during the holidays and see the ways in which they continue to carry the gifts of this community out into the world. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to hear their wisdom and the different perspectives on what St. Mark’s means to them.

The gospel this week reminds us that, even as Jesus was preparing to leave his disciples, he promised that he was going ahead to prepare a place for them. As we send these wise and amazing young people into the next season of their lives, I trust they are preparing a better world for each of us. They carry all the relationships that have formed them so far and will engage in different ways as a result. We will have the wonderful role of continuing to encourage them and welcoming them with open arms when they return. Oh, the places they will go—and take us as a result!

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