By David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
Bishop Harry Jackson, 2010 Commencement speaker at Patrick Henry College
“It is indeed a privilege to commission this class,” said President Graham Walker during the commissioning invocation, as he prayed for God’s highest blessings over the assembled grads in their future lives and callings.
In his Baccalaureate remarks, Chancellor Michael Farris exhorted graduates of the Class of 2010 from 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12: “For you know that we deal with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worth of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”
Acknowledging the varied skills and accomplishments attained by the 2010 class, Dr. Farris tempered his call to leadership with a reference to the heroes of the faith mentioned in Hebrews 11. More than all of the worldly accolades and successes many graduates will no doubt enjoy, he charged graduates to pursue a walk that is worthy of God. “Yes, I expect a lot of great things from the Class of 2010,” he said, “but the greatest things will come to those who live good lives. Walk worthy!” Faculty members then prayed for each graduate, laying hands on them one-by-one as they came forward.
Saturday’s commencement featured a rousing and inspirational keynote speech by Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in D.C., who spoke not only of the high honor but of the high cost of obedience to God’s call to lead the nation and influence the culture. Having served courageously at the forefront of the evangelical community’s efforts to halt the legalization of gay marriage within the District, Bishop Jackson recounted how he, his family, and church, have paid a heavy price as a result.
New graduate James Barta delivers Student Remarks
“We’re in that place in our history,” he continued, “when the righteous will be seen as prey. But the glory of the Lord is committed to each one of you as you contend for the truth. The evangelical wing of the Church must be honored, and you must go out and make your voices heard. We cannot afford for you do just disappear into your careers and miss the great opportunities before you.”
Observing how the American church has contracted “social laryngitis,” having apparently abdicated its role to “speak out with authority” on social issues, Bishop Jackson echoed Dr. Farris’s call to live lives worthy of the God we serve. Citing Isaiah 60:1 – “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you,” the Bishop concluded his speech to graduates with a call to action.
“Go forth from this place with trust, passion and commitment,” he cried out. “Great Awakening ‘number three’ is coming to America, and it just might come through [the young men and women in this auditorium].”
In his Student Remarks, graduate James Barta, a Government major, spoke to his classmates of the twin themes of “calling and excellence.
“When King Nebuchadnezzar tested Daniel,” he noted, “the king found him to be ‘ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.’ This is the excellence we should pursue for the glory of God. Yet excellence is not defined merely by the number of court cases won, children raised, or terrorists thwarted. Daniel had a second aspect to his excellence: personal virtue.” Read full text of James Barta’s speech.
Asking her fellow graduates to consider the “concept of legacy” in her Charge to Graduates, Kyndra Jamison, also a Government major, inquired, “What legacy will you leave in the time and place you have been given?” Returning again to the day’s theme of “walking worthy” of one’s calling, she encouraged her classmates: "We are free, free to act with justice, mercy, and humility. The proper response to freedom is rejoicing.
“Today is a day of celebration," Jamison concluded. "But today, my friends, is also a turning point for the rest of your lives. In all our striving, let us not forget the world in which we live. In this time, in this place, we are called to be servants. We are called to be leaders. Let us walk, then, worthy of the calling with which we are called and leave a legacy of wisdom and justice.” Read full text of Kyndra Jamison’s speech.
The following graduates received special awards: