During our last alumni board meeting, I shared my Calvin story with the board. It’s a new tradition for the board. As I began to sift through my college memories to share with them, a theme emerged—how my Christian faith was deepened and solidified during my Calvin years.
I was blessed to be born into a family with a deep heritage of faith. At Calvin, that gift became my own. The countless everyday experiences I had at Calvin gave me the confidence that my hope was built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
My Calvin memories include Late Night devotions in the residence halls, Wednesday night hymn sings, and retreats. We used to pack into the Beets-Veenstra lobby with song books in hand on Wednesday nights. (Yes, the cute girl from third Veenstra who was our Spiritual Activities Coordinator motivated my attendance to Late Night, but I’ve been married to that same cute girl for 23 years now, so clearly God had a two-fold plan for me all along.)
I remember leading the last hymn sing for Friday chapel our senior year with my friends from Beets. It was an emotional chapel as our dear friend Brian DeWall, who loved hymns like we did, would have been standing right with us. Brian died in a car accident just a few months earlier. It was a tragic moment prompting all of us to ponder our own faith in a strikingly personal way.
The classroom deepened my understanding of theology and gave me eyes to see God at work in the world. I remember countless examples of conversations with professors where we talked about what it meant to think and live in a world as Christians.
Many of you have stories like mine. Even as you read this article, you can picture the people who helped shape your faith at Calvin. And you might wonder, what is it like today?
I have the pleasure to see God at work on this campus in 2021. The Holy Spirit continues to dwell and be at work. Yes, how students worship and grow might be different than it was for you or me. Yes, the world and society might look different than it was during your time as a student.
However, if you want to see how Jesus is at work in the lives of our students, please come visit a Friday morning chapel. You’ll see students eager to worship. But you better get there early; the place will be packed. Of course, students are worshipping and deepening their faith in many other places. In this issue of Spark, you’ll read some of their stories. We hope it inspires you to reflect on God’s goodness to you during your Calvin years and beyond.