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The Archives: 2007 Convocation

Waving SignsStarting the Journey:
Fall Semester Convocation

Tuesday, September 4, 2007
9:50 AM, Calvin Fieldhouse

Convocation marks new school year

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Even without convenient access to the Calvin Fieldhouse, which is surrounded by a trio of construction projects, members of the Calvin community convened to usher in the new school year with Opening Convocation. Among those gathered were over 1,000 new students poised to begin their Calvin careers.

“I’m excited, but I’m also nervous about the start of classes,” said Andrew Mihovich, an incoming freshman who hopes to be a computer science major.

Construction swaths all four sides of the Fieldhouse with dirt and fences, making access to the building difficult. Because of this challenge, incoming students and faculty did not enter the building in a formal processional as usual. Instead, new students found their seats by locating their orientation group’s leader enthusiastically waving a sign somewhere on the Fieldhouse floor. Faculty gathered together and entered in full academic regalia just before the service began.

Provost Claudia Beversluis captured the expectant spirit of the occasion in her welcome to the crowd of new students seated at the center of the gathering.

“Imagine yourself four years from now—or however long it takes you—sitting not in this room, but in the arena we’re building next door!”

For freshman Jenna De Voogd, it was hard to imagine herself sitting in the Van Noord Arena as a graduate four years from now. Her concern now is making it through the first days of classes.

Outside Fieldhouse before Convocation“I’m nervous because I don’t know what the workload is going to be like in my classes. But I’m really excited too,” she said.

Laura Smit, Dean of Chapel, assured the new students that they would not be alone as they embarked on their Calvin journey. In her address, “Taught By the Spirit,” Smit said that the Holy Spirit would help the students as they explore new things at Calvin.

“It’s an amazing promise we have from 1 Corinthians 2:6-16—that the Holy Spirit will be our teacher—that he will teach us to discern not only holy things, but all things.”

Smit went on to challenge the entire academic community with words about the role of the third member of the Trinity in the learning process. She acknowledged how easy it is to become pigeonholed into an academic discipline or major, and how easy it is to use only the discipline’s accepted methods and categories to obtain knowledge.

But this isn’t the way Christians in academia should approach knowledge, Smit said.

“The pressure in academics is to think and know narrowly. But English majors need to know about photosynthesis and biology majors have to know how to talk about the mystery of photosynthesis in poetry.”

Laura Smit delivers the keynote addressIt is the Holy Spirit, Smit said, who gives learners a new way to think about things.

“The Holy Spirit helps us to make the step to see the world in a bigger context.”

Smit’s address was followed by earnest prayers for students, faculty, staff and administration and the coming school year.

Student body president Ben Graves prayed for himself and his fellow students, asking for humility as they begin another year of learning.

“In all things, Merciful God, give us the humility to know that we are frail, limited beings who don’t have all the answers, and give us hearts which yearn for you that we may return to you day in and day out,” he prayed.

With the end of Convocation came the official start of yet another academic year at Calvin, but not without a celebratory picnic shared on the Commons Lawn.

Aspiring nursing major freshman Ross Verwys expressed enthusiasm for the opening exercisie.

“It was pretty sweet to be part of Convocation and thinking about becoming part of the 50,000 or more people who have been a part of this place,” he said.

~by Allison Graff, web communications coordinator

The Address

Taught By the Spirit
Dr. Laura Smit, Dean of the Chapel

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 TNIV

God's Wisdom Revealed by the Spirit

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God's wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:

"What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived—
these things God has prepared for those who love him" [a]—
10 for God has revealed them to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person's thoughts except that person's own spirit within? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. [b] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

"Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?" [c]
But we have the mind of Christ.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 2:9  Isaiah 64:4
  2. 1 Corinthians 2:13  Or Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual
  3. 1 Corinthians 2:16  Isaiah 40:13

Today's New International Version
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