{Adam Goes to Seminary} March 2021 Update

Happy Spring! Our first semester of 2021 is well underway and classes continue to be a source of energy and excitement. At the same time, days that I head into work at TCC are also full with the many weekly tasks, but also new problems to solve, vision to cast, and relationships to strengthen. I am grateful for the balance of study and work that I have at this season of my life, and will be sad when it comes to a close. At the same time, I’m also excited to return to full time ministry work this summer. After the summer I will have just 4 classes remaining for my degree at Gordon-Conwell, which means one more year taking 1 class per term. This means I expect to graduate in the spring of 2022!

Greek continues to be challenging, and this impatient student who was never good at languages can’t wait for the day when I actually get to use the greek to unpack the scriptures. For the meantime, I’m restricted to simply studying vocabulary and grammar, and translating simple sentences out of context. It reminds me a bit of technique exercises for piano. I hated them, and couldn’t wait to just play music; but at the same time I see the value of slow methodical practice. I just wish it wasn’t that way! This summer I will be taking Interpreting the New Testament, which (I hope) means finally putting my greek study to use in understanding God’s word better. More on that to come…

Christ in the Old Testament is one of those ‘drinking from a firehose’ kind of classes. The professor (retired Senior Pastor from Park St. Church) lectures for 3 hours straight each Wednesday night while students furiously take notes. Though I heard many of his sermons from my time attending Park St. Church, this feels not only like 6 sermons per night, a survey of the OT and how Christ is prefigured and predicted in many of its texts, but also a glimpse into unique and compelling interpretations of key stories and passages that we all know. I could share many, but her is one such example that struck me: when God clothes Adam and Eve before they are expelled from Eden, he does so as a symbolic act that reminds them of their sonship and their kingship. He is having mercy on them despite their disobedience. The reason for this interpretation? To clothe someone in the OT was to symbolize care and compassion (as a father/mother clothes their children). It was also to symbolize inheritance (money was kept in the ‘hem of the garment’ in the same way we keep money in a wallet or purse; think also to how the prodigal son is given the cloak by the father upon his return).

God does not give us what we deserve – expulsion from Eden without protection, but extends his fatherly mercy and while still punishing, does not leave us out to dry. How do the clothes of Gen 3 prefigure Jesus? The temporary clothes Adam and Eve received prefigure our ultimate clothing – Jesus Christ. So when we read that we are ‘clothed in Christ in the NT, it means we are covered by God’s grace, mercy, compassion, and kindness. It is in Jesus that we receive the ultimate and eternal sonship, kingship, and inheritance. Christ the ultimate protection from God’s wrath, and this is good news!

Finally, Women in the Church is a challenging and thought provoking class where we discuss gender, sexuality, what it means to have sexed bodies (something the church talks little about), and social and ecclesiastical concerns in a safe and supportive environment. Readings have been really great. My favorite so far has been Icons of Christ. For anyone who has wanted to think deeper about women in leadership in the church (and whatever side of the aisle you fall within that debate), I would recommend it. Discussion is, as you can imagine, lively and impassioned, which is just what I was hoping for in a seminary class.

In other news, my car died so Shauna and I got to make our first joint adult purchase of a new (to us) car. It’s a VW Golf Sportwagen and we love it!

Spring time new (to us) car!

Author: adamkurihara

Director of Worship and Community Life at Trinitarian Congregational Church, Wayland, MA.

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