Cairn University’s academic year kicked off Monday morning with the University’s traditional Convocation Chapel, a time when the entire University family gathers together to celebrate the new year and dedicate it to God’s glory.
Dean Scott Cawood welcomed back returning students, and specially recognized incoming new students, the University faculty and staff, and visiting Board members. University Provost, Dr. Brian Toews, opened the service with prayer. Student Senate President, Greg Cawood, read from Joshua 4:19-24 in preparation for the message.
Dr. Todd J. Williams, University President, rose to welcome students and give the first message in his series for this coming year, the Cairn Series. “We enter into a new year aware, as Dr. Toews just said, that we serve a sovereign and gracious and loving God,” he began. He challenged students to remember that God, in His grace, had brought them to this institution for this time, and He would be faithful to complete His work.
Dr. Williams proceeded to speak from Joshua 4, examining how today’s students at Cairn University can learn from the truths of the Scripture passage. He challenged the students to note that Joshua’s action of building a cairn at Gilgal was an act of obedience to God’s instruction. “Joshua acts in obedience here because he believes God,” Dr. Williams said. “This is a pattern we see throughout Joshua’s life. Our faith in God should drive us to obedience to God.”
Stone are a physical reminder of God’s work, Dr. Williams said. But they require us to tell the story. He challenged students to be ready to ask and to be ready to answer. “All the memorials we put up are meaningless if we don’t listen to the stories they tell. The story must be told – you and I have an obligation when it comes to the gospel.”
Dr. Williams then reminded those gathered that the story in Joshua 4 is not one about the accomplishment of mankind, but rather the stones were piled to tell the story of what God did. The very act of piling the stones put the people of Israel in a posture of humility before God.
“These cairns had purpose,” Dr. Williams concluded. “As Cairn University, this cairn has purpose and meaning. We want this institution, we want your lives, to bear witness and point the way.”
Dutch Reformed Theologian Herman Bavinck has been broadly influential to many of today’s seasoned pastors and theologians. His work on the Revelation of God and Reformed Dogmatics became standard fare