Ms. Claretta McDaniel
Welcome to the Howard University School of Divinity. In my role, I have the opportunity to experience our students outside the classroom. I enjoy hearing their discussions about their classes and the knowledge they have gained. I am pleased when our students have the opportunity to attend conferences, institutes, and interfaith gatherings where they are able to expand and share their knowledge.
During our 2016 Closing Convocation and Recognition of Honors and Degrees ceremony, I shared words from The Inward Journey in Psalm 139, written by Dr. Gene Rice, Beloved Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Scholar. I would like to share those words with you.
The Psalmist’s Inward Journey: Psalm 139 gives us a virtual paradigm of the inward journey. At the beginning of his journey the psalmist knew God as an intellectual concept. At some point he had an encounter with the living God. This precipitated efforts to flee God’s presence. After exhausting the efforts to escape God’s presence, the psalmist surrendered to God and found joy in God’s presence. Then, full identifying with God, he condemned God’s enemies. Finally, with misgivings about his outburst against God’s enemies, the psalmist comes to the realization that he needs God’s continuing searching, knowing, and leading. This paradigm reveals that the inward journey is not a smooth journey in a straight line, always leading onward and upward, but more like a turbulent odyssey. The experience of the psalmist also reveals that it was important for him and for us to go through all the stages of the inward journey. To become stalled at any one stage can misrepresent and distort the true nature of the inward journey and deprive us of the full benefits of the spiritual life.”
As you matriculate through the Howard University School of Divinity, I encourage you to begin your journey of searching and moving onward and upward. Please do not become stalled by the new knowledge that you gain in your classes. Give priority to your inward journey so that you will be equipped to serve others. Engage in the programs and events of the School of Divinity so that we represent The Beloved Community to others. The world is waiting for you.
Peace and Blessings,