On Saturday, December 13, 2014, 95 students graduated in Cairn University’s fall commencement ceremony. Students earned degrees through traditional undergraduate, dual-level, Degree Completion, and graduate programs.
The ceremony opened with a reading of Ephesians 2:1-10, followed by a beautiful rendition of “My Jesus, I Love Thee” sung by professional vocalist and adjunct professor in the School of Music, Ms. Ruth Naomi Floyd. After the song, President Todd J. Williams invited Mr. Andy Crouch, author of Playing God and executive editor of Christianity Today, to join him on the stage to deliver the commencement speech.
Drawing from Revelation 7:9-17, Crouch likened the graduation ceremony to the heavenly ceremony that we will one day celebrate among the angels, elders, and four living creatures. For many, graduation is a milestone – a fulfillment of internal and external expectations and the attainment of a professional degree. While graduation is a celebratory moment for various reasons, he charged the graduates to view the day with anticipation of a greater ceremony to come.
As the graduates were dressed in flowing robes, the passage from Revelation was fitting: “Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’” (7:13). Just as the graduates emerged from a flurry of finals and endured “great tribulation” in the form of essays and exams, the true body of Christ will be made of those who have persevered and been made righteous in the sight of God.
Commencement is an accomplishment, but it is only a snapshot of the greatest celebration to come. Crouch charged, “We have the dignity of representing something greater than ourselves…this [graduation] is a rehearsal, a practice.” In the great ceremony of Jesus’ return, there will be abundance, diversity, fullness of response, and an unexpected hero. God’s diverse people will gather “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” (7:9) and be ready for a deeply informed response to praise the Slain Lamb.
Crouch charged the graduates to “offer your gifts to God” and use them for His glory. “Become martyrs, saints, and kings,” he exclaims. While martyrs do not choose to suffer, they choose to testify and offer their lives for a greater cause. We are also called to be saints, as students and disciples, to open ourselves up for suffering, and to be kings, having dominion over the earth.
Also announced was the appointment of a new dean for the School of Business: Mr. Yunn Kang. Professor Kang has successfully served as the Interim Dean of Cairn’s School of Business and was promoted to full-time dean.
As the ceremony came to a close, faculty, staff, current students, graduates, and guests sang the senior class hymn and closed with the University Hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
In our present day and the day to come, He is worthy of our praise: “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever!”
Watch the full commencement address here: