Speaking at Commencement

Here’s the video and transcript from my little speech at Commencement last Saturday:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). “Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Ps. 82:3-4). “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream” (Amos 5:24). Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, take care of the sick, visit those in prison, for “just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:31-46). For all humanity is made in the image of God—male and female he created them (Gen. 1:27).

These verses have come to mean a lot to me. You see, it was during my time at Fuller that God lit a fire in me—a passion, a vision, a calling to do justice, to see justice done. I began my time at Fuller in Fall 2006 in the Master of Divinity program, thinking that I would follow in the footsteps of my two brothers and go into fulltime pastoral ministry. But in the years since, through the classes I took, through the friends I made, and through the conversations and encounters I had, God tweaked that a little. And so, about a year and a half through, I switched to the dual MA in Theology and Cross-Cultural Studies, realizing that while I maintain a love for and interest in seeing the church impassioned and empowered to do justice, I also have a calling to see this justice done outside the church, to work in conjunction with non-Christians as well as Christians toward seeing the kingdom of God here on earth.

It was at Fuller that I began to ask questions like, what does this justice look like when over 45 million people in the United States alone are without health insurance? What does this justice look like when there are twenty-seven million slaves around the world today in bonded labor or in forced prostitution? What does this justice look like when there are still a billion people in the world living in extreme poverty? What does this justice look like?

This fall, I’ll be moving to Washington, DC to begin a year-long internship with the social justice organization Sojourners. It’s an opportunity rich with potential and promise, and I’m excited to see the things I’ve learned here at Fuller worked out in practice and in policy. To work out what biblical justice—God’s justice—looks like, and to see it done. To work out what it looks like to be our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper. To be a voice for the voiceless, an advocate for and a friend to those whom Jesus called the least of these. Because as the prophet Micah reminds us, “What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

I’m sad to leave Fuller, but I’m excited because while the challenges to seeing this justice done are great, God is already at work in our world, doing what he does. And me? I’m with him.