In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul urges us to live lives worthy of God’s calling on us, lives marked by humbleness, gentleness, patience and love. Our theme verse for 2016-17 is taken from Paul’s letter:
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Ephesians 4:1-6 (NIV)
In the coming year, students, faculty and staff will dig into how to live a “worthy life,” bearing witness to one hope, one call and one God. Our theme verse will be at the centre of dorm devotions, chapel services and theological conversations at Redeemer this year.
Josiah Bokma, Redeemer’s newly hired chaplain, is excited to engage with incoming students on the passage. “We want to live into this passage so deeply that it lives in us,” he says, “and we catch the big vision that God has for us.”
Reflecting on the theme, Josiah is reminded of a time he was visiting a Christian university in Uganda while on a learning trip. “We stumbled upon a classroom full of university students celebrating their year’s end,” he recalls. “They were boisterously singing and dancing, and we couldn’t help but wander in and take in the moment. You could feel their energy and it made you want to dance too.”
Bokma hopes that students will use the theme as a way of uniting in their faith, regardless of their differences. “I don’t mean to imply that we should all be singing and dancing in our classrooms—though that may not be a bad thing—but that I hope we begin to hear the energetic song of the kingdom of God and begin to dance together in our learning, with all of our lives and with all of our energy.”
Last year, a group of six students was selected by the chaplain to recommend a passage and theme for the coming academic year. First, they discussed from their perspectives the current spiritual atmosphere on campus. With a view to how continual spiritual growth can be encouraged in the future, they examined several scriptural texts. They agreed this excerpt from Ephesians would be one that offers several opportunities for instruction, consideration and meditation on how to live a life “worthy of the calling.”