Leaning on Our Beloved

By Russell Galloway


We do not presume to come to this, Your Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your manifold and great mercies.

-- Book of Common Prayer, Prayer of Humble Access


Hello -


Well–– our Creator rested on the 7th day, and so this Columbus Day–– we followed suit. For our recent day-off, we jaunted to the locally famous Billy Goat Trail to behold The Great Falls, which, sum total, refreshed body, mind, and soul.


Working backwards here… this past Sunday, the Capital Fellows heard from MPC pastor David Stephenson. He preached keenly about smelling Jesus, reminding that our King “made himself smell like death so that we would smell like life to God.” What a fitting sermon for Communion Sunday; we really do need a sacrament stronger than words to describe a God who descends to our level, dwells with sinners, dies for our souls, and draws us to himself.


In our RTS Seminary courses, Dr. Fullilove has been guiding us through various Old Testament readings. Last Friday’s class focused on the very overwhelming, “never gonna give you up” (Rick Astley), Covenantal love of Yahweh. John Kyle’s course similarly excites as we learn how God has designed each of us to uniquely respond to the irresistible beckon of Jesus’ vocational call to follow him in all things. Both classes continue to stir our hearts and minds; it is a privilege, joy, even delight to hear God’s mandate to subdue the earth, and fill it! As we tease out the implications of living in light of God’s call, my fellow Capital Fellows and I are learning how God’s call breeds continuity between our civic, interpersonal, and spiritual lives.


The hardest part of the Capital Fellows program thus far has been trying to explain it to friends and family. It’s like explaining the Trinity –– very feasible, it just takes a few minutes. A typical week comprises the copious capacities of commuting, interning, reading, studying, tutoring, and teaching. Hence, a fellow gets tired! As we press on, daily “taking up our crosses” (Lk. 9:23), we remember God gives to us his full presence, affording a rest and shalom - Peace that transcends temporal circumstances.


In a recent phone conversation, my grandmother reminded me of our need to lean on the “Everlasting Arm” of Christ himself. We, the Capital Fellows, do not put our trust in our internships, our vocation, ourselves, other fellows, our church, or even the Body of Christ. As God’s Covenant people, we are rightly shaped by ecclesiastical tradition, necessarily respond in obedience, and certainly need each other. But ultimately, we, as the bride of Christ, “lean on our beloved,” (Song of Solomon 8:5). We trust in the One who calls us.


Who is this coming up from the wilderness,

leaning on her beloved?

--Song of Solomon 8:5




Pictures from the Week



Living and Active, True and Lively: All smiles and giggles, the flock of Capital Fellows stands in the Bible Museum, anticipating the pilgrimage through the first exhibit. “All-ready, but not yet!”

Down to the river to play: Remembering Queen Isabella’s contract, The Fellows descended upon Billy Goat Trail to celebrate Columbus Day. Supposedly… some people kayak this daunting stretch of river.

^Same river, same Creator, same Fellows–– different vantage point.

Arrested by Grace: Pre-blessing, the Fellows hold hands in traditional frontier style. Fellows gathered last Friday for a self-cooked, self-consumed dinner at a local host family home. Our host-families are truly beyond generous, taking very seriously the Biblical call of hospitality to strangers.


McLean Presbyterian Church  |  1020 Balls Hill Road  |  McLean, Virginia 22101  |  Email: fellows@mcleanpres.org

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