Five years ago, we embraced what has since become a meaningful practice—the selection of a University Passage that centers our campus community, upholds our Christ-centered identity, prompts thoughtful reflection and study, and aligns our planning and organizational endeavors for the next academic year. Each year we emphasize a different cornerstone.
Three years ago, we selected Philippians 2:1–18 as our guiding text for our cornerstone of Service. The following year, Matthew 5:1–16 drew our attention to our cornerstone of Community. This year, our focus on the cornerstone of Christ has been shaped by both a Gospel passage and a Pauline epistle: John 1:1–18 and Colossians 1:15–23. These last 12 months have also been distinguished by a process of affirming our values and ethos as a distinctly Christ-centered institution, reclaiming the rich history and tradition of the Christian academy. How appropriate that next year our University Passage focuses on the cornerstone of Scholarship and draws us into the Old Testament for study and reflection on wisdom.
Once again, our selection process involved feedback from hundreds of community members—students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and trustees. It was incredible seeing the enthusiastic response from so many in our community who understood the significance of this tradition and invested precious time in prayer and reflection upon verses we could lean into in the next academic year. When our committee met to review the recommendations, we began by reading aloud the three passages that received the most support. Consider how fortunate we are—we work at a place where our mission and purpose are such that reading Scripture together became an act of worship, a calling out to the Lord to identify the verses that this community needs as we seek to bring glory to Him and advance His Kingdom.
It became quickly apparent that Proverbs 3 would offer rich ground for next year. Individually and corporately, we will find ways to recognize that wisdom is a gift from God and to discern how to live deeply with the world around us. I look forward to the profound conversations to come from immersion in this Scripture and as we explore what it means to be both disciple and scholar. I have included the passage below for your convenience.
As always, I look forward to how God uses this sacred text and our response to it to prepare our community for the year ahead. Thank you for your engagement in this process and your willingness to share your reflections.
President Jon R. Wallace, DBA
University Passage 2011–12
Proverbs 3 (NRSV)
1My child, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments;
2for length of days and years of life
and abundant welfare they will give you.
3Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4So you will find favor and good repute
in the sight of God and of people.
5Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
6In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8It will be a healing for your flesh
and a refreshment for your body.
9Honor the Lord with your substance
and with the first fruits of all your produce;
10then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
11My child, do not despise the Lord’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
12for the Lord reproves the one he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
13Happy are those who find wisdom,
and those who get understanding,
14for her income is better than silver,
and her revenue better than gold.
15She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
16Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
18She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called happy.
19The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
by understanding he established the heavens;
20by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
and the clouds drop down the dew.
21My child, do not let these escape from your sight:
keep sound wisdom and prudence,
22and they will be life for your soul
and adornment for your neck.
23Then you will walk on your way securely
and your foot will not stumble.
24If you sit down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25Do not be afraid of sudden panic,
or of the storm that strikes the wicked;
26for the Lord will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being caught.
27Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to do it.
28Do not say to your neighbor,
“Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—
when you have it with you.
29Do not plan harm against your neighbor
who lives trustingly beside you.
30Do not quarrel with anyone without cause,
when no harm has been done to you.
31Do not envy the violent
and do not choose any of their ways;
32for the perverse are an abomination to the Lord,
but the upright are in his confidence.
33The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the abode of the righteous.
34Toward the scorners he is scornful,
but to the humble he shows favor.
35The wise will inherit honor,
but stubborn fools, disgrace.