He was speechless. I’d asked Mat what his four years at college had meant to him. He couldn’t answer. He choked up. The tears formed. His grief at the prospect of leaving BST could not have been more eloquent. Somehow he managed to testify to the way his life had been transformed in his time at BST.
The grief was shared by everyone in the room. It was the dawning realisation that many of our relationships won’t be the same next year. Students are graduating. They are seeking jobs or planning the next step. The mix of uncertainty and sadness is heavy. As lives are shaped by God’s word over a year or years, the fellowship is rich and precious friendships form.
Yet there is the joy and the satisfaction that goals are being achieved. This is the reason students first enrolled in college: to be prepared for a lifetime of serving God, serving his people and serving his world. It has required hard work, personal discipline, costly sacrifice, not only by them but friends and family too. There is the relief that the constant cycle of assessment will lift. There is the dawning realisation that they are on the brink of securing their diploma or degree, ready to find pathways of dedicated service of the Lord Jesus. This is the reason BST exists.
This year we have been reminded of what an unrelenting cycle of grief and joy this has been over decades. This has been our anniversary year; 75 years of students at BST being shaped by God’s word so they can serve his world. The cavalcade of graduation photos on a wall at the college speak with the same eloquent silence that Mat did. Hundreds of lives passing through the formative experience of college: shaped by God’s word. And this year we have heard many of their stories, graduates who have lived faithful and fruitful lives: serving his world.
Thank you for your support of our college. Your ongoing interest, your prayers and your financial support are integral to the college functioning effectively. I hope you enter into the joy and satisfaction of what God is doing in the lives of his people at BST, and what he will continue to do through them in his world.