President’s Chapel November 1: The Dangers of Coming to a Christian University
The beautiful Cornerstone University symphonic band sounds of treasured hymn “Amazing Grace” opened the President’s Chapel on a Golden Eagle Day as an important precursor to an urgent message. A message Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño framed as an honest, urgent conversation related to this year’s theme, Christ Our Greatest Friend. He began with the powerful words Jesus Christ offered to His disciples just hours before His death:
“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” (John 15:13-14).
Such was the importance of what was in the heart and mind of Christ in this moment. “Jesus lived with urgency every day and moment of His life to serve the Father’s business,” suggested Dr. Moreno-Riaño. “And that urgency ultimately drove Him to the cross to lay down His life for God and the world.” As followers of Christ, doing as He did and commanded should remain urgent to this day.
With 30 years in Christian higher education from student to university leadership, the president spoke from personal experience on an urgent topic: “The Dangers of Coming to a Christian University,” outlining four key dangers for current and prospective students, faculty and staff to consider:
Indifference. Participating in daily university life with indifference to God, His Son and His urgent pursuit of God’s work. Any foundation other than God’s purposes and the commands of Jesus Christ leads to Matthew 7:24-27:
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Insurmountable life and traumas. Physical and sexual trauma. Addiction. Family traumas of all kinds. “Jesus knows. Jesus IS your greatest friend. Jesus has conquered them all. Believe it. Act on it.”
Christianity can seem banal. Ordinary. Trite. Boring. Unexciting. “At Cornerstone, we aim to always present a Spirit-filled Christianity that moves, shakes, engages and transforms,” said the president. Disengaging from the transformative power of Christianity can lead us to lose our life-altering friendship with Jesus Christ. May this never be so at Cornerstone University because the LORD is here, drawing us to Himself and transforming us.
Osmosis. One can believe the surroundings of Christian life can penetrate us without ever engaging in an authentic friendship and relationship with Christ.
These four dangers can lead us to disengage from the most important friendship of our lives that leads to ultimate flourishing or worse, turn away and embrace the dangers of evil that exist in the world today.
It is urgent to engage daily with the friendship of Jesus, in part, because it leads to the goodness of God, even in the midst of a troubling, traumatic, chaotic world. God’s goodness is abundant, lifegiving, rescuing, redeeming, satisfying and gracious.