Written By: Alison Theis
As you may have noticed, Chapel looks a little different this semester. While it is easy to blame COVID19 for all our unhappiness, it is important to understand that there is more to what is going on in our world today than just a pandemic. It is not about health issues, rather it is a heart issue.
While students are required to sign up for chapel once a week, it did not stop OKWU’s President, Dr. Jim Dunn, from delivering a Convocation message that will surely stay with Fall 2020 students for the rest of their lives. The chapel began with an introduction from the University’s Provost Dr. Mark Weeter, followed by a prayer led by Dr. Wendel Weaver, head of the School of Business. Dr. Jonathan Stewart then led the congregation with gusto – as is his normal fashion – in the classic hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. Unsatisfied with the lack of energy in the room, Dr. Dunn called for Sam’s bell to be rung again saying “I think you’re happy to be here. I’m happy to be here. I don’t know, I think you can do better.” Little did the student congregation know that these opening words of his sermon would lead to so much more.
Dr. Dunn quotes John 13:13 as his opening scripture, saying that he is talking to the student body, just as he would his own child. He simply says, “Love one another.” Despite all that has happened in our OKWU student life, our relationships with fellow students, our relationships with Professors, fellow staff, etc. It does not matter- we still desperately need one another. Dunn then segued into his infamous two-word phrases. The first being, Made More.
Grammatically speaking, the phrase should really say “Made for More” just like the title of this article. However, Jim Dunn has his own style of making a point. “You are more than what others think about you. You are made for more than a life of Sin. Life is more than that.” Dunn’s words hung in the air, sinking into the minds of his student congregation. “You,” he said, “Are made in the image of God himself.” Dunn continues with another illustration before moving to his second phrase- COVID 19.
While most of us shudder at the sound of this phrase, Dr. Dunn makes it clear that the world’s current situation is serious, and yes, the pandemic does exist. Despite all the arguments and debates, it is not the end of the world. So, what do we do? “Let’s help each other,” Dunn answers. Why? We need one another.
The climax of Dr. Dunn’s sermon began with the phrase Biblical Justice. The Theology and Ministry Majors will happily point out that this is a loaded term, and they would be right. Dunn made a point of saying that society can discuss the whole Black Lives Matter movement all it wants, but by the end of the day, Jesus does not care. All Jesus wants is YOU. “I chose Biblical Justice rather than Social Justice because it’s different.” Dunn continues. While we all need to address the social problems of the world, it is vital that the Bible sets the framework for how these issues are handled. “I would rather have something bigger than me to base this on. […] I am not better than the rags that scripture says I am, so who am I to judge? Jesus came and said that every life matters. Listen to those that are hurting and stop the silly arguments.” Dunn’s fiery passion was now lighting hope in the congregation as they clapped and cheered to what he had to say.
All of this to say that we all need some Biblical Justice, and a drive to need one another. We need the Bible to define things, not society. Remember the four OKWU Pillars: The Primacy of Jesus Christ, the Priority of Scripture, the Pursuit of Truth, and the Practice of Wisdom. Jeremiah 29:11-14 tells us of God’s plan. While we may not always understand God’s ways, there is no excuse for refusing to run towards Him with all that we have.