Upon waking up Friday morning, I could hardly believe that we had already arrived at our final full day! Though it flew by, so much had occurred and great depths had been reached. We continued with our morning rhythm of communing with one another over breakfast and then gathering in Duke Chapel for morning prayer with Father Julian. Then we moved onto the Divinity School for our final academic lecture, this time with Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman. Our theme for the day was Coming Reign of God, and she focused on unpacking the reign of God as place, promise and practice. She presented each category as having different focuses and ideas. Professor Turman encouraged the conversation and implementation of all three emphases in our churches. It was evident that students were engaged with the topic and that Professor Turman had provided them with new ways of thinking and speaking about eschatology in a new and lively way.
Our Living Theology Workshops concluded on Thursday, so instead we spent Friday afternoon attending to the logistics and hopes for our year together online. The mentors will continue to meet with their groups by way of video group chat once a month until we complete the full cycle July 2015. Prior to that group discussion, the groups are to participate in a specific prayer practice, listen to a lecture pertaining to the theme for the month, and read an article that also relates to the rich theological themes. This is a new dimension for DYA and we are all excited for the opportunity to continue working with our mentor groups and to see we all grow together and with our communities at home.
Our final evening of residency concluded with the student-led worship service that we had been preparing for all week. Five different groups of students were responsible for different portions of the service and were encouraged to be creative and innovative, while holding to the Scripture passages as the ultimate influence and rhythm This preparation became a practice to engage the learning we had from earlier Worship Workshops. The students worked well together to uphold the tension of tradition and innovation . It was a beautiful service that truly manifested the diligence and passionate hearts of the students. It incorporated many of the themes that we had addressed throughout the week and blended practices from the diversity of our community. We were also fortunate enough to hear Director Alaina preach and have Father Julian preside over the gifts of the Table.
After the service and mentor group session, dorm curfew was extended in order for the students and staff to have a fun and relaxing last night together. Zac (Dorm Dad) took on the DJ role in the dorms (exceptionally well, might I add) and we all danced late into the night. After dancing for a while, I sat back and just marveled at the students. I found myself feeling particularly grateful for the students and staff as I simply observed everyone. Not only had they bonded tremendously in just a week, they also embodied a care and acceptance for one another that are often rare. The lightheartedness of the atmosphere was refreshing and a great way to end our week together. Thanks be to our holy God for the invigorating conversation and learning, coupled with playful, lively, yet intentional, community. It was bittersweet end. Though we concluded our residency and it was hard for students to part, this week together was just the beginning!
Pray for us as we venture forward together.