A good moral, my lord; it is not enough to speak, but to speak true. -Lysander, A Midsummer Nights’ Dream
My dear Speech students,
In April of 2010 after watching the video of my final assignment in which I read and retold Luke 12:22-34 Professor Rob Lanchester asked me to be his teaching assistant in Speech Communication class. Today after watching the video of another student read and re-tell Luke 12:22-34 I completed my final class as a TA.
During my three years as a TA I shepherded over 120 students through the school year-long growth process most often called simply “Speech.” For some students, Speech was a refuge from the academic rigor of junior year. For some, Speech was the bane of their existence. Yet, for me, Speech was a ministry.
I know I was not a perfect TA. From those who needed a kind word from me and I was too caught up in other things, I ask your forgiveness. From those who I hurt with un-careful speech, I ask your forgiveness. From those who I misunderstood, I ask your forgiveness. From those who thought my comments were condemnation, I ask your forgiveness.
Being a TA helped me discern my own vocation. More than that, being a TA helped me see how God uses all parts of our lives in our ministries. You showed me that. Many of us at the beginning of Speech class felt we had to separate ourselves from the biblical text we were reading out loud. Not true. We have to allow the text to work on us as much as we work on it. You surprised me with incredible readings of scripture passages I thought I knew. You showed me new dimensions of interpretation. You taught me that the Holy Spirit does indeed show up! You give me hope for the future of the Church.
In Speech I learned how to trust my own voice and how to listen to others’. It has been an honor to walk with you. It has been a blessing to listen to your stories. It has been a privilege to assist you as you grow in your pastoral identities. Many of you ministered to me during difficult times in my own life (many of you without realizing you were doing so), and I thank you all for that.
I thank you for listening to my round-about explanations. I thank you for humoring me as you tried something new. I thank you for your time and presence and hard work. While I know I am being called to minister elsewhere, I am sad to leave. I have loved this ministry.
Your Former TA,
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. ‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -Luke 12:22-34 (NRSV)