At WAU, as we count down to August 28, 2017 - the first day of school for our new academic year – our thoughts turn to the words of singer songwriter, Perry Como, whose melodic verses invite the parents and loved ones of our students to consider –
“Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older, When did they? When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall? Wasn't it yesterday when they were small?
Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly flow the days,
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as they gaze...
Here, at Washington Adventist University (WAU), our Mission is to “engage minds and transform lives” so that indeed, each student entrusted to our sphere of influence “blossoms” to be the distinctive professional that they are “called” to be. More than ever, we are fully committed to making this declaration from King Solomon, a vibrant reality in their lives - “A man’s gifts make room for him and bring him before great men” (Proverbs 18:16).
It is for this and similar reasons that this year, our Office of Ministry has chosen “GROUNDED” to be our theme. A quick journey down one of my favorite pathways, www.dictionary.com reveals the meaning for the word GROUNDED – which is defined as being solid, firm and unshakable. And yet, as powerful as this definition is, we must continue our reflection and ask, what attribute are we intentionally working to ensure is GROUNDED in our students? Thankfully, the Apostle Paul provides us with an answer to this essential question.
In a dark and desperate prison cell, we find Paul – with intentionality writing his letter to the Ephesians, whom he also loved – even as we love our dear students. Furthermore, though chained – he wills his bruised and painful knees to kneel in prayer - for one reason and one reason alone - which we learn through the prayer that he later includes in his letter and which reads as follows: “For this reason, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and GROUNDED in LOVE, may be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever Amen. (Eph. 3:14-20).
Did you catch it? Paul prayed above all things - that we commit to be GROUNDED in LOVE. Reminding us later – in 1 Corinthians 13, that even if “our students” are able to comprehend all knowledge and all wisdom, even possessing mountain-moving faith – it will profit them nothing.
Therefore, thank you in advance for joining me in daily bending your knees and praying this prayer of blessing over our students so that they will indeed be GROUNDED in love and therefore, be more fully the fragrance of Christ’s love which will “engage minds and transform lives” for time and for eternity.