University life is steeped in traditions. One of the most common and wide-spread of these is the ceremony to mark the official beginning of the academic year – Opening Convocation.
Redeemer’s Opening Convocation, held in the Auditorium on September 9, was an opportunity for the extended community – faculty, staff, students, alumni and other supporters – to come together and give thanks and praise to God for his work at and through Redeemer.
One of the key purposes of Convocation is to welcome those, especially students, who are new to the university community. New professors are also formally welcomed to the faculty. Dr. Joanne Nazir, Dr. Deanne van Tol and Dr. Naaman Wood were inducted into Redeemer’s faculty, restating publicly the vows they made when appointed to their positions earlier this year.
Through Opening Convocation, the Redeemer community also meets to set the course for the University’s work and communal life throughout the coming year. President Krygsman’s Address – Orienting our Learning to God’s Goodness – pointed to that purpose. His message was based on Acts 14:8-19. In the passage, Paul and Barnabas admonish those in Lystra who looked upon them as gods. “What would it be like if Paul spoke in our universities and media today,” Krygsman asked, “where our idols and sacrifices focus on autonomy, self-gratification, and self-sufficiency?”
Like the classically-educated Greeks of Lystra, our world, including its university scholars, “hunger(s) for the source and meaning of life, and they reflect in their beliefs and actions what they assume to be of ultimate power and ‘worth’,” noted Krygsman.
In response to their misguided worship of himself, Paul points out to the Greeks that God has provided a Witness to true wisdom and meaning. In our current environment, Paul’s message is a reminder is of utmost importance to us as we take up our learning at Redeemer, a calling that stands in stark contrast to much of the world of academia.
As they begin their year, Krysman encouraged faculty and students to “become ever more attuned to God’s witness and His purpose for your lives and our world as you grow in wisdom and understanding… confident of God’s presence in the world and working in you, so that your gifts and life may fulfill your purpose and shine as a witness of God’s goodness and grace in your lives and work.”
The full text of Dr. Krygsman’s address has been posted by the President’s Office.