By RACHEL NYE
Sitting in my theology class this week, I had a “eureka” moment.
After a full semester of studying and learning in the classroom, we came to understand the true essence of an adult faith.
Your faith life should be based on an encounter, not a performance.
An encounter resembles that of coming to truly understand another for who they are. It is a dialogue of interactions that leave a lasting impression upon us.
In a performance, we play out our own monologue, letting the idea of what we do identify us.
But life — and faith — go far beyond that.
If there is one thing that has changed my heart and spiritual life at Gannon, it is true authenticity.
As students, we arrive with a set standard of who we are that has been instilled in us from our roots and families back home.
We have built a sculpture of ourselves that we believe is a masterpiece.
Yet, with each new encounter and thought, the marble surface is chipped.
Before we know it, the sculpture that once was, is no longer present, invigorated and reshaped by each experience.
This is how God finds us at Gannon.
He meets you in each encounter. These encounters differ for each and every individual, but there is no denying that the master sculptor behind it is he.
Finishing up the last of our classes and saying goodbye to dear friends at the end of this year is going to be difficult.
Next year will be full of hardships, no doubt. There will be new experiences and encounters that once again sculpt our personal image.
But for our time here, we have been touched by the hands of God and others who encourage us to mature.
And we must not remain stagnant in our thoughts and beliefs.
Who we are is ever-changing and we must strive to go for something greater.
In our time at Gannon, we are deeply encouraged by faculty, staff and peers to rethink our faith and truly ask deeper questions than before.
We are blessed with the ability to work toward finding something new within ourselves.
The thing that we realize, yet again, is that this current sculpture we possess is only temporary.
We are not statues meant to be on display, but living, breathing people.
And after these four years here, we look brand new. But in just a few more, we may look even more changed.
This is the beauty of God’s grace as he encourages us to grow, expand, believe.
And as we see with the change of the seasons, we may also see a change within ourselves.
For “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens,” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
As we finish off another academic year, embrace the changed individual you are, find the encounters in your life and love the ones who have worked on your heart.