Posted by: Brian Musser | November 30, 2012

PEACE & POWER: Finding Home and Making a Difference.

Snapshot 1 (6-19-2011 6-57 PM)I was on a large stage in front of the gathered faculty, staff and students of Drexel.  I had three minutes to say something meaningful while invoking the presence of the Divine for our annual celebration of the academic year’s beginning.  This is a monumental task for any preacher.  I have been trained to use 30 to 45 minutes (or more) to make one point to a group of people that are literally on the same page.  “In case you are following along that would be page 507 in your pew Bibles.”  What could I say that would whet the appetite of such a diverse group?  I know most do not listen intently to the words of the man giving the invocation.  I have no illusion that many will even remember I was on stage.  The video archive starts after I have already returned to my seat.  I have been reminded often that my first priority is getting off the microphone within the time allotted.  But I do not want to miss an opportunity.  I want to inspire fellow Christians in a way that connects what they do at Drexel intimately to what they believe.  I want to connect with those of other faiths with appropriate comparison and contrast.  I want to communicate intelligence and thoughtfulness to those who would position themselves antagonistically toward religion.  And I basically have three sentences to do it in.  Welcome to the world of the Baptist Campus Minister at Drexel.  Add to the picture a long black gown and a pointy square hat and you have a proper image of my Tuesday, October 2, 2012.  I love this job.

P&P Christian FellowshipEight years ago, as I was transitioning from a Biologist to a campus minister, I spent a considerable amount of time developing the heart of what I wanted to do on campus.  Two words became the organizing themes: peace and power.  Every human being is on two spiritual journeys.  In fact I believe the entire human process is about these two concepts.  We are constantly looking for our home, a place of security, where we belong.  To quote the philosophical authority of the Cheer’s theme song; “Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name.”  We are all searching for a way to return to the Eden that was lost and eagerly anticipating the heaven that will be gained.  Because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that peace is once again available.  We can find our home in an eternity maintained by an all-powerful and all-loving God that has proven to have our best interests in mind.  We not only want to belong but we also want to contribute.  We want to find a way to make a difference.  We want our efforts and energy to be expended adding value to the world around us.  We are all searching for an avenue to invest who we are and what we have to offer into God’s world.  When the power of God connects with us through the Holy Spirit it brings forth those unique talents and gifts that are within us so that we can accomplish exactly what God created us to do.  We can find our purpose in an assignment given by and all-knowing God who intimately created each of us for a reason.  Peace and power, belonging and purpose, security and assignment, these are the quests that fuel our life.

The invitation by Drexel to lead the Invocation for Convocation (say that five times fast) was a connecting moment for me.  I caught a glimpse of the academic process through the lens of our spiritual journeys.  Physics became the study of a universe consistent enough for us to understand but malleable enough to manipulate for a own purposes.  Business provides economic security and produces products that fill needs.  Art communicates the commonality of the human experience but also voices prophetic visions.  Medicine maintains a healthy status quo and corrects that which has gone awry.  The academic endeavor is included in humanity’s search for peace and power.  As we study we learn about our home and discover ways to make it better.  Eureka!  I have my message.  Now what will be my three sentences?

Almighty, Creator, Foundation, the First of all causes, the Prime mover, but also the Lover of our souls, our intimate, our friend, our healer.

As we come to you at this time, in this place for the beginning of a new academic year we seek your presence, not only do we desire you to be present in this ceremony at this time but we wish for your presence throughout.

We are in awe of the way we have been equipped with the ability to learn, the mental capacity to understand, the imagination to create, the social skills to grow in knowledge as community.  We are amazed at a universe that is stable enough to comprehend but malleable enough to manipulate.

We pray that as we work hard in the process of learning the universe from the financial interactions of humans to the grand scale of astrophysics to tiny details of language grant us favor and success. Give us the ability that through what we learn and how we apply it we are able to better ourselves, our university and our world.  Guide us so that our work is truly good.

As has become a habit between me and you I will leave this prayer un-ended signifying its continuation in my heart and with our lives.

That may look like more than three sentences to you but just remember you have a Baptist preacher doing the counting.  Our time-management is often flexible.  My own journey has been about becoming comfortable at Drexel.  I am an invited guest of the University but also placed by the God of the Universe.  I work within the parameters established by the Academy but for the Glory of God.  I have found the place where I belong and the purpose for which I have been created.  To create an eternal home for Drexel Dragons through the available peace of Jesus Christ and to make a purposeful difference in the world around us through the power of God.

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