The covenantal cosmos

Common grace for the common good.

Recently 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 graduatesIMG_6387 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 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.”

From The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation, and Culture.

About Dr. Steven Garber

Steven Garber has a classroom among many people in many places. As the Founder and Principal of the Washington Institute, the heart of his own calling is that people understand the integral character of faith, vocation, and culture. Author of The Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving Together Belief and Behavior (2007), and Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good (2014), he writes frequently for Comment and Critique, and in addition was a contributor to the volumes Faith Goes to Work: Reflections From the Marketplace, and Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalogue, as well as to the Mars Hill Audio journal, “Tacit Knowing, Truthful Knowing: The Life and Work of Michael Polanyi.” For many years he taught on Capitol Hill in the American Studies Program, and then became the Scholar-in-Residence for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He serves as a board member for Ransom Fellowship, the Blood:Water Mission, A Rocha, and the Telos Project, and as a consultant for the Wedgwood Circle, the Murdock Trust, the Demdaco Corporation and the Mars Corporation. A native of the great valleys of Colorado and California, he is married to Meg and is the father of five children whose own callings have them scattered around the world.


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