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30 years later, Ambassador College classmates look about the same
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30 years later, Ambassador College
classmates look about the same
By Lenny Cacchio

The writer has been a Church of God member since 1971, currently attending with the Church of God Kansas City.

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo.--As Mordecai said to Esther, who knows whether we have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Thirty years ago I thought I would be old by now, and I guess I am. But, having returned from my 30-year college reunion (Class of 1976, Ambassador College, Big Sandy), I am flabbergasted that my schoolmates by and large didn't look all that much different.

As I walked into the reception room in Winter Park, Colo., a onetime and still-young-looking classmate told me I hadn't changed a bit as her friend proceeded to attach to my shirt pocket a picture from the college yearbook.

My picture displayed a cheerful smile and an atrocious $3 haircut that I had paid too much for.

"Wear this so people will recognize you. This is how they remember how you looked."

So much for not having changed.

As I envied how young and robust everybody looked except me, I suppose it soon was evident how much everybody really had changed.

No more egos

Change was the root of this happy weekend. Unlike those brash, testosterone-charged college students of 30 years before, everybody checked his ego at the front desk.

Time mellows self-centered hearts, and here was a class that had learned to control its headiness. More to the point, the experience of living teaches that we are not the center of the universe and that none of us has a monopoly on the truth.

M. Scott Peck, in his book The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, tells us that in a true community people "have learned how to listen to each other and not reject each other."

Some 30 years ago my classmates and I had a community of sorts. At least we thought we had. Maybe it's more accurate to say we had a pseudo-community.

We thought we were dwelling in unity, but we made the classic mistake of confusing unity with conformity. If truth be known, we were less in agreement about the important issues in life than we could ever imagine.

We could not step from behind our masks long enough to reveal it, and, if we had revealed it, some of us, including me, would not only have refused to listen but would have rejected out of hand both the message and the messenger.

So there we were, 30 years later, and in one short weekend we were able to build the start of a community, a real community, the one we only thought we had built when we were young, and this in spite of the different paths so many of us have taken.

Again, from M. Scott Peck: "There is a fantasy abroad. Simply stated, it goes like this: If we can resolve our conflicts, then someday we shall be able to live together in community. Could it be that we have it totally backward? And that the real dream should be, if we can live together in community, then someday we shall be able to resolve our conflicts?"

There is something special about the Class of '76. By learning to transcend our differences we built a foundation that, if we are diligent, can carry into eternity.

Time teaches that strength and meaning come from relationships, from people and a God you can count on, from those who will stand shoulder to shoulder and fight back to back.

For such a time as this, the ties that bind us will keep us strong, for the devil will conquer only if we divide.

For such a time as this, with our world bordering on insanity, those we love and trust are God's servants for our strength and encouragement.

For such a time as this, our community can encourage our commitment to be salt and light to this sick world.

After a weekend of listening and not rejecting, I came to understand the words of David in Psalm 133: "How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."

We might have points of doctrinal difference, but all of us from the Class of '76 had a desire to serve our Lord and Savior.

The divisions of denominational affiliation notwithstanding, the ties that bind are stronger than the disagreements that divide.

When Christ returns I plan to ask Him, "Was I right or was he right?"

I hope I know what the answer will be: "Lenny, you were right about some things, and he was right about some things. But there was one thing you all had right. Everyone knew you were My disciples by the love you had for one another."

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