I have a dream
It was another staff meeting. We had dealt with a few new issues of our accreditation, worked on the brief for the modifications to the virtual learning environment and were discussing credit hours for non-formal and informal education activities. My eyes closed and my head slipped downwards…..
I was sitting at a blazing fire on the beach in the evening with my students. We ate together (of course), sang a bit, talked about this and that and then one asked me “What did you mean when you said in the lecture that the only task of the Christian is to learn to love?” They gathered round.
We talked of the theology of love and what it means to let our love be directed by our theology and our theology by our love. One asked what it means to love the world and yet not love the world.
We got on to relationships and friendships and just how complicated and rich it is to love one person all your life in marriage. The students were mostly young people on the cusp of maturity, responsibility, and a life well spent and they wanted to know what all this meant.
Then we talked about how messy love can be in a local church and, indeed what it means to love The Church, to have a love as wide as God’s for all his Church. We discussed how hard it is to love oneself as well as one’s neighbour – but how important it is.
The fire was reducing down to a quiet glow by now but they wanted more. They wanted to discuss what it means to have a love for God as the controller of all the other little loves; how to love God in prayer, in worship and in service and they wanted to know how that worked out in my life with all my strengths and weaknesses, times of usefulness and silly mistakes…….
Someone touched me on my arm and I woke up with a start. The academic dean was now talking about modifications to the marking scheme for third year dissertations. “Sorry, did I startle you?” my colleague whispered.
I stifled a long sigh and picked up my pen.
(With many thanks for the important work academic deans and directors of studies do for us all, making possible our teaching.)