Go out and be a blessing, Nathan Hershberger, ‘08

junio 3, 2024 / Christine Coddington
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As the year comes to a close, senior officers Sophie Hendrick and Gabe Stoltzfus welcomed Mr. Hershberger to speak during chapel. This year the senior class chose Mr. Hershberger to give the closing chapel. The class truly valued the lessons and messages he has taught them over the years. The seniors asked him to reflect on the class as a whole. 

In Hershberger’s address to seniors, he showed a cross made of a bullet casing from the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. To Hershberger, this cross has two meanings.

  1. A terrible wound runs through the heart of this world and ourselves.
  2. God is there here tending to that wound: enduring it, bearing it, healing it. 

God brings people back from exile, yes wounds are real, but so is healing. God turns wounds back into something beautiful.

Sometimes in life, we have to remind others of where we are, who we are, where we are going, or why it hurts. Sometimes we are the ones who have forgotten and we depend on others to carry us. If you ask Christians, who are we? Someone will say, we are people created and redeemed by the God we know in Jesus. What day is it? The day after the resurrection and before the second coming. Then why does it still hurt? That one is harder to answer. He asked, “Seniors, next year when you forget… who will carry you?” 

Herberger challenged seniors to walk near people who suffer. “Will you be the one to sit and listen to them?  Will you be a joyful presence?” He asked students to look for the reasons for things and be curious. Look to each other for inspiration and endure as you go out into the world. A terrible wound runs through the heart of things but God is there tending to it and healing us. 

 

Hershberger directed this blessing to the graduating senior class: 

“Seniors, when you are feeling overwhelmed this next year or intoxicated by a new freedom, remember what day it is. It is the day after the world has broken apart.  It is the day after the crucifixion and resurrection and pain, and evil is all around us and within us. So as you walk, walk with those who are weeping. And it is the day before Christ comes again, so laugh with those who laugh. Live with the bold and joyful freedom between sorrow and hope. God is carrying us into the future: that is the story to which you belong. That is today, so relax into the arms of God. Join hands with your neighbor. Carry those who need to be carried. Endure what must be endured and push onward towards that horizon in which all tears have been washed away.” 

 

Hymn 307, Will you let me be your Servant, can be your guide

Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you? Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too

We are pilgrims on a journey, we are travelers on the road. We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ light for you in the nighttime of your fear. I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh I’ll laugh with you. I will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven, we shall find such harmony, born of all we’ve known together of Christ’s love and agony.

 

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