Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Last Things

The end is upon us. And it has come more quickly this year than I have ever remembered. We are entering into the last week of school for our seniors. For freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, everything is now the "last time" this year. For our seniors, it is forever. We've now had our last Winter Term, our last Spring Break, our last Spiritual Life Emphasis Week, our last Sacred Music concert, and our last beginning of AP Testing. This week we will have our last AP tests, our last full day, and our last chapel. The week after, seniors will have their last exams and last Academic Awards night. Then there will be Diaspeiro and Graduation practices and then the actual events. On May 31st, the CHCA experience will end at a ceremony rightly called Commencement. And in the joy of completion and "freedom," hints of sadness will be just beneath the surface as a community of students and teachers is scattered out of our school and into the world.

Many seniors who have longed to escape our "hallowed halls" for the past four years begin to exhibit melancholy and nostalgia at the thought of leaving friends and familiarity. Difficult classes and assignments, tech week, and two-a-days are now fondly relished as communal rites of passage that made us stronger and closer to each other. The end is near.

The Bible often talks about the End. The Greek word is eschaton, literally meaning "last." (So the word eschatology is really the study of "last things.") The biblical writers, when confronted with difficulty and struggle, always look forward with Hope toward the Eschaton. Whether it was the Hebrew prophets describing the establishment of God's shalom throughout not just Israel but the entire cosmos or New Testament writers longing for the "blessed Hope" of Christ's return, the End was always in sight. Apocalyptic literature, like parts of Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation, explain the catastrophic turmoil of the present as the harbinger of God's closing of history itself, bringing about His perfect End.

The CHCA experience might parallel that apocalyptic pattern. If one considers a 12 or 13 year experience (which some of our graduates have here!), the last two years could easily be see as the cataclysmic beginning of the end! The strenuous and stressful nature of the junior year, ushering in the senior college search and decision making process, punctuated by final papers and the AP exams, the End is now in sight. When Friday comes and we sing and worship together for the last time as an entire community, we will be at the doorstep of an academic Eschaton.

Let us finish strong! Let us push to the end! The End is near!

We are in the days of Last Things.