For the 2018 graduating class of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Three hundred fifty million years ago
an urge so deep no tongue may shape its name
congregated continents together —
Pangaea, as we call it — and the land
was one, and rivers ran and mountains rose,
caressed the sky, and sang the songs of home.
Two hundred twenty million years ago
Pangaea broke apart, or so they say.
The great rift valleys tore the lands asunder;
they drifted to the corners of the wind,
and came to rest in distant far-flung places,
sang other songs, were known by other names.
And soon enough the time will come for leaving.
New continents will know you by new names,
new waters shape new waves upon your shores.
These moments we believe to be eternal
are but songs we’re given for a while;
they drift away, and other songs begin.
But pause, and recollect what brought you here —
an urge that even now you cannot name,
that gathered you together in this place
and gave you voice to sing. Even now
it drones beneath the distant mountains, rivers,
and waits the day when all are one again.
PAUL HOOKER is a teaching elder member of New Covenant Presbytery and associate dean for ministerial formation and advanced studies at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.