Common grace for the common good.

Last Friday night I gave the commencement address at Covenant Theological Seminary in St, Louis. Over many years I have spoken there in many different ways: in conversations with administrators, faculty and students; lecture series; and classes and courses.

I set before the graduates the vision of common grace for the common good, specially drawing on the rich, textured idea of “covenant” as a way making sense of life in a modern-becoming-postmodern world, full as it is of fragmentation and anonymity, and therefore indifference and irresponsibility.

So, not only the name of a seminary, but even more so an idea that forms our deepest longings as human beings– with implications for families, for neighborhoods, for businesses and economies, for schools and schooling, for politics, and all the rest of life. We all want to belong, profoundly so, and “covenant” makes sense of that, especially of the mutuality and responsibility built into its very meaning.

We live and move and have our being in a covenantal cosmos- whether we want to or not, whether we believe in it or not, whether we choose to or not.

This is the way I ended the address:

“We gather tonight to remember the vision of vocation that grows out of the biblical story remembered in the windows of Sainte Chapelle– imagined by King Louis who became Sainte Louis –and that is ground of institutional being here at Covenant Theological Seminary, and to step into history, into the wonderful and wounded, beautiful and broken world of the 21st-century.

“The story is still true, true to the way the world has always been, and always will be, a       covenantal cosmos it is.

“May it be so, in and through your lives, ever more faithfully, ever more fully, as your          educations form your vocations– sola Deo gloria, for the sake of the world.”

Steven Garber is the Senior Fellow for Vocation and the Common Good for the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust. A teacher of many people in many places, he continues to serve as a consultant to colleges and corporations, facilitating both individual and institutional vocation. A husband, a father and a grandfather, a he has long lived in Washington DC, living a life among family, friends, and flowers.

Meet Steve