The 2022-2023 Concordia University Texas theme is an open-ended question rather than a declarative statement. The theme that we hope can further unite us as students, faculty, staff, alumni, and people from all backgrounds within the Concordia community is:
What is life?
Let that question sink into your heart for a minute. Say it aloud. Write it down.
What is life?
We hope that this question can be pondered in the classroom, debated in the residence halls, grappled with after athletic games, and critically addressed by each of you this year. Choose to see this question as an exciting invitation to wrestle with the most profound truths regarding why we are here on this earth.
What is life? This spring, we took a a small poll in our community which revealed these responses to Pastor Jake: “Life is hard for my family who doesn’t have a ton of income.” “Life is exciting since I will graduate soon.” “Life is all about glorifying God.” “Life is… Oh, I haven’t thought about that in a while. I will have to get back to you.”
What is life? Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote about life, saying, “The easiest thing of all is to die; the difficult thing is to live.” For many, the last few years have been tough to live through. The virus took so many lives. If we are honest with each other, many in our community are facing challenging life issues. The words grief, anxiety, worry, shootings, suicide, sleep deprivation, and mental health fill the headlines. These life struggles are real.
What is life? At Concordia Texas, our first core value is that we are Christ-centered. During the year, in life groups, mission trips, fun events, and especially in Chapel and at Refuge, our campus ministry team will be helping give us things to consider to answer this profound question. And the desire is for hope, compassion, courage, and love to fill these conversations and convictions about life. As you listen and answer for yourself, I invite you to choose to be open to this question, kind to all, curious to learn, and eventually convicted.
What is life? Let’s start with this thought as we dive into the theme. Jesus Christ makes a bold claim about life. In the first-hand eyewitness account of the life and times of Jesus Christ, a close friend and teammate, John, heard Jesus declare this about himself: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (14:6). What is the gravity of this claim? We can claim that the source of life is random or by chance, but Jesus claims otherwise. We are here on earth by his plan and purpose. God has given you your life. And this year’s invitation is to recognize God as the Great Giver of our lives.
I love how the follower of Jesus, Paul, shares this belief about life with a group of seekers in Athens, “He himself (God) gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man (Adam) He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth” (Acts 17:25-26). All life is from God.
The word “life” is used 36 times in the book of John within the Bible. That’s a lot of times, considering it is only used in other books upwards of 17 times. John witnessed Jesus giving life to the eyes of the blind, life-filled hope to a woman cast aside by society, and countless other miracles bringing life to deadly situations. And the most significant miracle John witnessed was Jesus walking out from the tomb, once dead, now alive! Christ is risen.
Jesus’ claim to be “life” is verified because he was dead and now lives. He did what nobody else could do or would do. He died for your sins and rose from death. And he has done it so that you might have life and life to the full. Jesus is life.
What is life? Jesus wants to give you the best life, which is a life centered on his promises of grace through faith, unconditional love no matter what you have ever done or will do, strength from Him as you face challenging times, and life eternal with him on the new heaven and new earth. Our theme verse for this year is John 10:10, “I (Jesus) have come that they (the whole earth) may have LIFE, and have it to the full.” Week after week in Chapel, we will proclaim this refrain: Abundant God, give us life.
What is life? Life is all about Jesus.
Concordia Texas, may this theme bless you this year!
Take it to heart. Answer for yourself. Answer with a friend
- What about your life do you see as a true gift from God?
- What is your reaction to this thematic question? What is life?
- What are your deepest hopes and desires for the Concordia Texas community this year?