Sunday, February 24
The Lord’s Day
Minute for Mission: Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico
On October 26, 2011, Professor Juan Bek preached in chapel at the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico. He recalled that as he helped his granddaughter one evening with a school project about butterflies, he remembered Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. The butterfly transforms from a cocoon to a butterfly. In Kafka’s masterpiece, Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning and finds himself transformed into a giant verminous insect. Professor Bek’s sermon was a sober and prophetic call. He described our contemporary human situation, where, instead of changing from cocoons into butterflies, we find ourselves transformed into vermin. We all are Gregor Samsa. He called it “retromorphosis,” turning away from God’s image and purposes and wearing the effects of sin as persons, church, and society.
As I heard the sermon, I remembered the transfiguration story in Mark 9:2–8, where the Greek word for transfiguration is, precisely, metamorphosis. Professor Bek’s sermon was a slowing, introspective moment for students and professors at the dawn of the Reformation celebration. The Reformation, he asserted, was a metamorphosis, a time in history where God’s Word turned our vermin-like lives, our vermin-like church, and our vermin-like society into butterflies. This call to transformation can be extended to theological education and the vocation of our seminaries.
Sometimes we need to go to high places. Sometimes God takes us to high places, as Jesus did with Peter, James, and John. The purpose is not to renounce life but to be transformed by God’s glory and exercise our vocations in the world. Arnaldo Sánchez, a pastor and student at our seminary, goes every week to Culebra, a small island to the east of Puerto Rico, spending days struggling with transportation. He preaches and teaches and then comes to seminary to learn.
As a seminary, we confront the realities around us with honesty and humility and equip our students with the resources to hope against hope. Let us all be witnesses of our Lord’s transfiguration in the midst of our retromorphosis.
—Dr. F. Javier Goitía Padilla, professor, Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico
Let us pray
Gracious Lord, we ask that the seminary experience would be a high place for our students as they prepare to serve in God’s kingdom. In the name of our risen Savior. Amen.
Sunday Lectionary and Hymns
Gen. 15:1–12, 17–18
The God of Abraham Praise
PH 488, HB 89
God Is My Strong Salvation
PH 179, HB 347
Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation
PH 416 and 417, HB 433
Lord Christ, When First You Came to Earth