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First Chapel of 2024 Focuses on Godly Relationships and Goodness of the Lord

News January 19, 2024

A powerful time of worship and a resounding message from President Gerson Moreno-Riaño welcomed Cornerstone University students back to campus for the spring semester. Seniors entering their final semester were recognized and celebrated by their peers before Dr. Moreno-Riaño dove into his message, continuing the year’s focus on John 15:13-14: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.

During the fall semester, the president introduced the three core demands of what it means to have a true friendship:

  1. Knowing another and being known by another.
  2. Doing good for another and only receiving good from another.
  3. Actively sacrificing ourselves for our friends and actively receiving their sacrifices for us.

“I think it is more difficult today to be a friend than perhaps any other time in history,” said Dr. Moreno-Riaño as he began to unpack the first demand of friendship. He referenced the current landscape of the world — one of hostility, suspicion and fragmentation. People are afraid to be vulnerable and show who they really are out of fear of being rejected or canceled by their peers.

Referencing “How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen” by David Brooks, attention was drawn to Brooks’ point that there are two kinds of traits in people when we interact with others. We either diminish people by lessening their humanity, or we illuminate them by caring deeply for them.

To truly follow the example Christ has shown in being a friend, Dr. Moreno-Riaño stressed the importance of building others up and how vital it is to illuminate people in the world around us imploring, “The LORD, our Savior Jesus embodies being an illuminator, not a diminisher.”

In closing, students were challenged to spend meaningful time with the LORD, asking Him to reveal ways that they diminish and illuminate others. He encouraged students to accompany others, meaning to actively live life with them and walk together through their lives by being faithfully present friends.

“Christ calls us to illuminate the lives of others,” urged Dr. Moreno-Riaño, “and to break into the spheres of others and live life with them. So that we get to know them and see them and allow ourselves to be known and seen by them.”

Students, faculty, and staff ended worship by joining hands and singing the “Benediction Song” together, praising the LORD and marveling at His glory.

To listen to the full message, as well as additional chapel messages, follow Cornerstone University Chapel on Spotify and subscribe to CornerstoneU on YouTube.

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