“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Dear Auburn Friends,
What a joy it is to write to you as we are finally experiencing summer weather! Even though summer doesn’t technically begin until later in June, we have mentally begun to switch gears to summer. We start to plan days at the lake, weekends at the cabin, road trips, camping trips, and summer gardens. We can even wear white! J
This time of year is also the season of graduations. Our oldest son graduated from high school this year. Graduation and the week leading up to it was a whirlwind filled with celebrations and ceremonies, concerts and conversation. It was hard to find time to slow down and think about the meaning behind all of these traditions. I was actually somewhat grateful for the full hour I spent holding seats before the graduation while sitting on the unforgiving plastic of the gymnasium bleachers, because I finally did have that moment to reflect. It struck me that the purpose behind all the commotion surrounding graduation is fundamentally rooted in community. Graduation is certainly about the individual students graduating, but it is also about the community.
The graduates and their accomplishments give the community a sense of hope and promise for the future. We remember these young adults as infants and toddlers, and we see in their faces the truth that change can be a good thing. Each and every student who graduates has their own individual struggles and dreams, school drama and successes, joys and pain. As a group, they represent the corporate ability to work towards a common goal. Every one of them completed similar requirements to be better equipped to thrive and serve their communities. We pray every one of them heads off into a life filled with adventure and joy, just as each of us did however long ago.
The community shows up at graduations. The community includes parents, relative, friends, teachers, staff, business owners, and countless others. The graduation ceremony at my son’s high school ends with the entire gymnasium clapping and cheering until the last graduate leaves the room. The principal directs the gathered community to do this, so that the final memory students have of high school is of people cheering them on as they go out into the world. That is a very intentional and profound choice, even if not everyone notices its power in the moment. Every student graduating has a corporate memory of being loved and supported, at least once, in that space and time.
Jesus talks all the time about community and the power of loving one another. He is very clear in commanding us to love one another, just as Jesus has loved us. That is a hard thing to do. But it is also a powerful thing to do.
Auburn embraces community. In it, we find our identity, strength, and unity. We are who we are at Auburn because of our community, which includes the community the residents and staff create within the buildings, as well as our surrounding communities of family, friends, city organizations, businesses, and volunteers.
I am grateful to build this community with each and every one of you!
In the Spirit of Christ’s Love,