Thursday, December 20, 2007

Every Blessing

A little over two hours ago, I finished my last final exam (intro to music technology), and, for all practical puposes, finished my first semester of college study. In a few hours, I will check out and move out of my residence hall for a three-week break.

These last four weeks (the weeks since returning to school from Thanksgiving break) have been quite exciting. Two weekends ago was the Wheaton College Christmas Festival, a rather large undertaking that involved over two hundred students and a bit of a stressful week prior. But the performances (there were two) went quite well, I am glad that I had the oppotunity to get involved on the house staff.

Then last week, all the end-of-term activities began in earnest. My final exams actually began last week Wednesday with class piano, and, as mentioned above, concluded today. Although I had a lot of time with nothing to do (there is only so much you can study for the exams in the classes I have), it was nice to have my finals spread out over the course of nine days. It gave me a chance to get things done and get ready to leave.

This past weekend included a special treat. Zach Vander Laan, an Oak Park alumnus and friend of mine since junior high, and now a freshman at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, was home for break a week earlier than most of his friends, so he came out to Wheaton to visit Heidi Jahns and me (the three of us all grew up in the same church). We went out to dinner with a couple of Heidi's friends and then the three of us spent some time together catching up and sharing stories of our experiences this semester. Both Zach and Heidi have been around for and even present at many of the significant events of the last few years of my life, and I really enjoyed spending some quality time with the two of them.

This past Monday night, Wheaton observed its monthly All-School Communion. Dr. Gary Burge, professor of New Testament, gave a message based on the story of the Magi. His challenge to us was to be, like the Magi, curious and "permeable," and see what God might have planned.

One of the songs for worship on Monday night was the hymn "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing." My first experience with this hymn was several years ago, playing in my home church's orchestra, accompanying the sanctuary choir. It was a powerful arrangement, and I remember teaching myself to play it on the piano soon thereafter.

Monday night, though, I was particularly struck by the lyrics in the third stanza of the modern text.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

I've written before about how in the past few months, God has really moved me to stop trying to control my life and let Him quide me along the path He has for me. This third stanza, particularly the last four lines, seem to be a perfect representation. I am prone to wander, and try to do my own thing. The second stanza states that "Jesus sought me when a stranger/Wandering from the fold of God." While that, I think, speaks specifically to salvation, the concept of Jesus bringing a wanderer back to God pertains to my recent experiences as well.

So there's my reflection at the end of my first semester of college. It certainly was an adventure.

Merry Christmas!

This is Rubio, over and out.

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