Dear APU Community,
The selection of a University Passage affirms the centrality of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture in the unfolding life of this community. Further, the process invites the full participation of each of us—His image bearers—and encourages us to listen for God’s still small voice drawing us toward the passage He intends for us in the year ahead. In doing so, we experience the transformation of life possible through God’s grace.
As I reflect on 2015-16, I am struck by God’s perfect timing in drawing us to two sections of Scripture that caused us to celebrate our Jewish heritage realized in the person of Jesus. For the first time, we studied complementary passages: Deuteronomy 6:1-9 and Mark 12:28-34, in support of the Cornerstone of Scholarship.
In preparation for next year, we asked for your thoughtful recommendations around the Cornerstone of Service. In the hundreds of submissions received from students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and trustees, we felt your support for this important tradition that keeps us centered on Christ and values community.
When the committee gathered, we prayed for God’s leading and read Scripture together. Through our discussion, New Testament chapters nudged our spirits. As committee members shared and additional conversation ensued, Romans 12 (see below) emerged as the choice for our focus on the Cornerstone of Service.
The chapter calls us to fix our eyes on God, see ourselves as His children, and adopt a selfless posture in service to others. As believers on a journey together, we acknowledge that acceptance of Christ and His gift of salvation causes ongoing, continuous transformation and renewal in response to His tender mercies. As we seek to die daily to self, we move toward community-focused action. Jesus offers us the perfect example of service, and His Word will guide us over the next year in an exploration of how we best reflect and act upon this important tenet. Given the complexities of our world, the challenges in our nation, and the struggles we face on our campus, I think selecting this chapter will move us in humility toward our Savior and the cross.
I look forward to how God’s Word invites us into greater selflessness and shapes us in His likeness.
Jon R. Wallace, DBA
Romans 12 (NRSV)
New Life in Christ
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6 We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7 ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8 the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
Marks of the True Christian
9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.