“As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21). Just as Jesus had sent his disciples into the world to serve him, SAIACS has been training and sending people into the world for the same purpose for nearly 28 years. On March 28, 2015 as the sun was setting, SAIACS conducted the 28th Graduation Ceremony. Many people came from different states in India to see their loved ones graduate. As the crowds watched, nearly 75 students marched towards the front in black gowns with their heads held high to receive their respective degrees.
A few days before, during the Commencement Service, Bishop C.V. Matthew challenged the graduates to follow Christ faithfully. He also warned them of the temptations that they may face in the ministry. His words “come and serve” echoed in the ears of graduates and the audience as well. He concluded his message by encouraging them to serve God with skilful hands and with integrity of heart.
On the Graduation Day, Rev. Ivor Poobalan, Principal of Colombia Theological Seminary, Sri Lanka, delivered an excellent sermon titled “Shaping Our Mission in the Mission of Jesus”. He challenged the graduates by saying, “until we appreciate how the Father sent his Son, we don’t understand how the Son sends us”. He said Jesus’ decision to leave his position and come to this earth for his vocation should shape our perspective of ourselves.
On these two occasions two books were released. “Smarana: Stringing Beads of Reminiscence”, a yearbook that captured the community life and events at SAIACS, was initiated and released by students and “The Gentle Answer: To the Muslim Accusation of Biblical Falsification”, was released by Dr. Gordon Nickel, a consultant for the Centre for Islamic Studies at SAIACS.
It was both a joyful time and a hard time for many graduating students as they prepared to leave behind their friends and faculty members who have shared their lives over the past few years. All the struggles and the pains that they went through in their academic life just disappeared as they were receiving their certificates from the Principal. One of the graduates posted on his Facebook page saying, “The apprehensions, the worries, the fears, the aims, the ambitions, the tentativeness... We've come a long way since!!! All because of His Amazing Grace!!!” Another graduating student described his experience in only two words, “AMAZING GRACE”. Even now, relying on God’s grace, they are stepping into their ministries hoping that God will bring to completion what He has started.
SAIACS has trained them well and equipped them with the tools necessary to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in a better way. Many will be going out with a grateful heart for what the Lord has done in their lives through SAIACS. As full time ministers they will be serving in different places and in various ministries such as church planting, pastoring, teaching, counseling and social work. Wherever they go they will be carrying the aroma of Christ to those sitting in the pews as well as to those sitting in the darkness. The prayer of SAIACS is that they may know Him and make Him known who gave up His life on the cross for our sins. Go and serve Him well graduates!
(Charles Thaluri - MA1)