Southwest Seminarian Wins Living Church Student Essay Contest


Sarah Mast holds her published essay.

The Living Church recently announced the winners of their annual Student Essays in Christian Wisdom competition. Sarah Mast, a Southwest middler MDiv, won first place with her essay, Participation in Divine Emptiness: Theosis at the Empty Tomb.

The Living Church states the competition is open to any Anglican student enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program (BA, MDiv, MA, or equivalent diploma; not ThM or other secondary degrees) in a seminary or theological college of the Anglican Communion or accredited ecumenical equivalent is eligible to submit an essay of 1,500 to 2,000 words.

Essays may address any topic within the classic disciplines of theology (Bible, history, systematics, moral theology, liturgy). We also welcome essays written to fulfill course requirements. We will give special consideration to essays that demonstrate a mastery of one or more of the registers of Christian wisdom and radiate a love of the communion of the Church in Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God.

We sat down with her to ask her a few questions about her experience.

What was your essay about?

The essay was about the moment at the end of the gospel of Mark, in which the women find the empty tomb, and the young man tells them “he has been raised… he is going ahead of you.”  I offer that even this moment of seeming emptiness and fear is an invitation to participate in the divine life.

What inspired you to write it?

We had an assignment in Constructive Theology.  Pick a theological doctrine, pick a Bible text and create a sermon – then turn in a theological commentary on your sermon.  This was the commentary. 

What was the experience of writing it and then winning?

My experience of writing it was first bewilderment as I tried to figure out what the paper would become, then it became a meditative experience.   When I learned I won the award, I was surprised (I had forgetten about the contest, and quite delighted. 

What has been the thing that surprised you most about winning?

I have been surprised by the support and celebration from the community. 

What are your post graduation plans?

I am a postulant in the Diocese of Texas, and hope to be ordained as a priest.  I would like to serve at a parish in which I can use gifts and interests of pastoral care, social justice, ecology/agriculture, and liturgy.