NEST Newsletter – June 2021
Here we are! Send us!
From the President of the Near East School of Theology: Dr. George Sabra
Those who attended our Commencement Service on June 12, whether in person or via live-streaming, no doubt noted the last hymn that was sung, “Here I am, Lord”. This is a hymn that became very popular at our Seminary, especially after we acquired the Presbyterian Hymnal for our Chapel services in the early 1990s. The words are based on Isaiah 6 where the prophet receives his call. The Lord asks, “Whom shall I send, who will go for us?”, and Isaiah responds, “Here I am Lord, Send me.” (vv. 8-9). The four M. Div. graduates of this year asked that this hymn be sung, and so we included it. During the Service the graduates presented a gift to the Seminary in remembrance of their time at N.E.S.T. – a plaque on which is written those very words of Is. 6:8.
I was deeply moved by their choice of the hymn and those verses from Isaiah. Here are fresh Middle Eastern graduates from a theological seminary who are declaring, “We are ready to serve you, Lord. Send us where you will”. Young men who will serve the church in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon – three countries that are in terrible shape. Our graduates will be serving and living in countries where there is violence, oppression, occupation, severe economic, social and political crises; three countries many of whose young people are emigrating, fleeing to find better conditions of living elsewhere. And here are young graduates singing, praying, declaring that they are ready to go where the Lord sends them.
If our Seminary is able to continue graduating students with such commitment and resolve, with such a sense of calling and determination, then, no matter the number of students, God is with us and blessing our efforts. We must go on with our mission no matter what befalls us and our countries.