In a recent sermon, the Rev. Dr. J. Thomas Kort of Charlotte, North Carolina challenged me with Carlyle Marney’s famous homiletical inquiry: “Who is on your Balcony?” The folks in the balcony of our lives are the people who have mentored us, encouraged us, and whose faithful witness of a life lived in Jesus Christ have inspired us to this day. The author of the book of Hebrews calls it the “great cloud of witnesses.” Perhaps your church celebrates these men and women of faith on All Saints Day.
As a student in the seminary’s Doctor of Ministry degree program, I have discovered that my personal balcony is quickly expanding. Along with the names of family, friends and pastoral mentors seated there, I now have the privilege of adding the names and faces of the members of my D.Min co-hort group. A group of wise men and women in their own right, their commitment to a life lived in Christ inspires me as we ask questions, learn and laugh together. Along with this group of saints I must also add the names of my professors, who make learning a joyful spiritual discipline itself, and who do not hesitate to share with us their own stories of life lived in Christ. Finally, the newest members of my balcony just took their seats within the last month, as a result of the assigned readings for my Reformed Christian Spirituality focus; Julian of Norwich, Miester Eckhart, and the Beguines. Things are getting crowded in the balcony, and I still have many books to read, questions to ask, and professors to meet. I may have to put out more chairs….
Catherine, D.Min Student