|President McDonald's Convocation sermon calls on community to build bridges|
San Francisco Theological Seminary officially kicked off the 2012-13 academic year with its Convocation Worship Service on Sept. 12 in Stewart Memorial Chapel.
Rev. Dr. James McDonald, the seminary president, delivered the sermon entitled “A Work in Progress.” McDonald’s message focused on Ephesians 2:11-22, which calls on followers of Christ to stop building walls that divide people.
“Christ crossed every boundary,” McDonald said reflecting on the Scripture reading. “He took his ministry to the Jews and Gentiles. He preached to outcasts and tax collectors and talked to the Samaritan woman at the well.”
McDonald noted that the current divisive political climate in the United States and even extreme differences in beliefs among Christians, including splits within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), establish polarizing forces that deny Christ’s peace on earth.
“God has given us unity in Jesus Christ,” McDonald sad. “Christ demolished barriers.”
McDonald pointed to the diversity in the SFTS community as a great starting place to practice Christ’s ability to reach out to those who may seem different.
“We have diversity in our student body and curriculum,” McDonald said. “Get to know those who are different than you. Bridge the gap. This is the peace of Christ and the gift of God.”
According to Rev. Scott Clark, SFTS chaplain and associate dean of student life, McDonald’s message was perfectly suited to the Convocation Worship Service as the seminary welcomed students from Korea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Philippines and throughout the United States. Clark believes that SFTS’s diverse community provides an opportunity to cultivate openness and a welcoming spirit, which ultimately spread beyond campus when students move on to ministries throughout the world.
“Convocation is an important opportunity for the community to begin the new academic year in worship,” Clark said. “We gather around the Word in worship, and together reaffirm our commitment to sharing ministry at SFTS in the coming year – in the name of Jesus Christ. You really feel the breadth and depth of the SFTS community in this worship service.”
Faculty, staff and students gathered for community lunch in Upper Alexander Hall immediately following Convocation Worship Service.