The Spring 2013 Commencement officially began Cairn’s Centennial Celebration of God’s faithfulness over the past 100 years. Faculty, staff, members of the Board of Trustees, family members, friends, and graduates of the class of 1963 celebrating their Golden Anniversary of graduating joined the 143 graduates receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Dr. Todd J. Williams, President, challenged the graduates to give of themselves in sacrificial service to God. He noted that it was fitting for a university, as it celebrates its centennial, to invite as speaker a graduate who is a noted historian. Dr. Allen Guelzo, Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and a professor of history at Gettysburg College, was the keynote speaker for the event, his address titled, “A Man of No Reputation.”
Beginning – unusually, as he noted – by talking about the Devil, Dr. Guelzo challenged students to emulate the Son of God rather than the Father of Lies. He contrasted the orientation of each seen in Scripture, that of Satan toward self-exaltation and that of Jesus toward self-effacement. Dr. Guelzo pointed to Paul’s description of Jesus in Philippians 2, saying, “It takes discipline to be obedient; it may even take a lot of determination to allow yourself to become a servant; but there’s nothing that quite beats the utter self-emptying, the complete acceptance of self-humiliation, that occurred when the second person of the Divine Trinity submitted to becoming a human being.”
Dr. Guelzo’s charge to the graduates was to make themselves of no reputation. “Do not imagine that being of no reputation means that you must loudly proclaim at every opportunity that you are nobody, so that everyone notices. Understand it to mean that you are always willing to become somebody, for the glory of God.”
“Do not concern yourselves with whether great tasks lie ahead of you, but whether the tasks which do lie ahead can be done greatly,” he said, pointing again to Christ as the model for the graduates. “Whatever great things you have done, whatever great things you may do or will do, remember that you, too, are only an unprofitable servant…Jesus willingly made himself a servant, and for that reason, at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. There, class of 2013, is your model. Go forward, and do a great work. And let nothing prevent you from achieving the greatness that is within your grasp.”
Perspective: It’s an important word. It is full of meaning, and its implications are profound, both for us as individuals and for us as a society, a society that seems,