Taking the Right Path

By Reverend Andy Fleming, Chaplain

There are many occasions when we talk to students about taking the right path. This can be about making good decisions or finding the correct way to solve a problem. Another similar metaphor we aim at senior students is creating a pathway, to help them find and reach their potential and purpose for when they leave the College. Despite the myriad of options, students most often end up pursuing a path that suits their interests and personalities. While students are strongly encouraged to think about their future, it is living in the present that prepares them for the path they end up taking.

Good Shepherd of Sieger Koger by Sarah Hornsby – painting – acrylic on wood panel.

In the well-known Bible passage, Jesus the Good Shepherd, Jesus uses a similar metaphor of entering the gate. Jesus, the shepherd, leads those who follow him on the path to live a life of faith and righteousness. Jesus is the gate through which the faithful enter the 'sheepfold'. He too provides us a warning to not try to enter any other way, otherwise one will be like the thieves and bandits – those who live dishonestly.

Many of faith have thought this metaphor is about arriving in Heaven - following Jesus through the gate leads to eternal life. While this may be true in part, it overlooks the fact that there is no beginning to eternity, and so they live as if waiting for eternal life to start. Like the students preparing for their life after school, followers of Jesus should be living a life of faith and righteousness in this life. Living in the present is part of the fullness of life Jesus invites us to.

Flashlight by Rev. Sarah Are

I wish I could draw you a map of the next steps –
the next conversation, the next brave truth,
the next fumble, the next apology.
Wouldn’t it be nice to prepare our hearts?

But I don’t know where to go from here.
I am a child with a flashlight –
Deeply hopeful and a little nervous,
All at the same time.

What I do know is I don’t want to go anywhere without you.
So I’m hoping that you will take my hand.
See this truth. Trust my voice. Look for the good.
And day by day, we can go from here,
Because we were never meant to go alone.

And maybe we’ll get lost;
but then again, maybe we’ll be found.
So if you’re willing, if you’ll just say yes,
I will let you hold my flashlight.
We can find our way, step by step.
Light in hand, abolishing all the shadows together.

Peace be with you, Rev. Andy.