This year our own Prof. Chris Gehrz was given the honor of speaking at Bethel’s Opening Chapel. Audio of his talk, “The Body of Christ” (from 1 Cor. 12:27) is now available on iTunes U. Click here to stream or download.
(Prof. Gehrz’s talk starts a little after the twelve-minute mark. But don’t skip past the earlier sections, which introduce 2015 faculty excellence award winners Nathan Lindquist, Gary Long, and Sara Wyse and summarize the summer’s Edgren Scholars projects. The service ends with a moving benediction from Barrett Fisher, our dean of arts and humanities.)
You can also read the text of Prof. Gehrz’s talk, which is published at his blog, The Pietist Schoolman. Here’s a sample:
…We promise you a transformational education: expect it. Don’t be satisfied simply to acquire knowledge or enhance skills; don’t be satisfied getting a diploma that opens doors to a career. Expect to be changed; expect the liberal arts to be liberating arts, freeing you from prejudices and assumptions that lead to death and feeding a living faith made active in love.
And this not for yourself: you were made for others. You are being made new in order to make new the Body of Christ, the Church. Ask it your hardest questions — demand better answers of institutions that are supposed to be “reformed and always reforming.” But then offer it your greatest gift: yourself. For when Paul says that “if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation” (2 Cor 5:17), he means that you have been made newfor the sake of the God who is sending you out as “ambassadors” for the risen Christ (v 20).
For through all the parts of the Body of Christ working together, God is making the world itself new. Through a million million small acts by imperfect people like you who restore tiny corners of Creation. Through a billion billion instances of sinner-saints like you who scorn status and power and wealth to serve the same world that hates you.
God is meeting the physical and spiritual needs of humanity through you, the Body of the Incarnate Christ. God is wiping tears from eyes through you, the Body of the Crucified Christ. God is making all things new through you, the Body of the Resurrected Christ….