Over the last two days we have said goodbye to our third years. It is always a time mixed with sadness and joy. Joy at who individuals have become, but sadness that we will not be teaching them as a group any more. As usual part of the communion involved a confession and absolution and we followed that up with Jo, their year tutor, anointing them and saying the words:
I anoint you in the name of God who gives you life. Receive God’s forgiveness, his healing and his love. May our loving God grant you the riches of his grace, his wholeness, and his peace.
An ending is a new beginning too and I encouraged the students to put their regrets behind them, to believe that they had left them with Jesus and to go forward not being held back by them.
I appreciate that this is easier said than done sometimes and we may need help ensuring that we have fully worked through some of the issues in our own hearts and minds even if theologically the things that are bugging us are in the past.
There are many thoughts I am taking away from today but perhaps the one I want to share is the testimony that what kept one student on the course was knowing that soon he would be meeting his classmates again and that gave him strength to go on. MCYM students come in two days a fortnight but they are no less a community or committed to each other and the process of formation than a student who might attend five days a week. It was such a privilege to see them together and know a little of the journeys that have been made, the sacrifices, the hurts, the triumphs, the choices that brought them to today.