Dr. Paul D. Kooistra, who is completing his first academic year as president of Erskine College and Theological Seminary, spoke to graduating college seniors at a baccalaureate service May 22.
Kooistra’s address, “How to Live When You Don’t Know Where You Are Going,” was based on a passage of scripture taken from Hebrews 11, in which Abraham’s obedience to God—leaving everything he knew to go to an unknown country—is highlighted in a “roll call of faith” citing examples for Christians to follow.
“We have to see ourselves as part of this chapter in Hebrews,” Kooistra suggested, explaining that in a sense we make a choice daily to follow God.
He spoke about famous people who believed God had called them to a particular life, cause, or task, including William Wilberforce, who fought to abolish slavery in the British Empire; Florence Nightingale, who revolutionized medical care during the Crimean War; and William Booth, who rescued many women from prostitution and founded the Salvation Army.
Men and women who say to God, “Your will rather than my will” are able to accomplish what God calls them to do in his strength.
“What God wants for you is a whole lot better than what you want for yourself,” Kooistra told the students.
The Rev. Paul Patrick, chaplain and campus minister, welcomed the seniors and the family members and guests gathered with them, then led the call to worship. The Rev. William Cain, chairman of the Board of Trustees, offered a prayer of intercession for the graduates, and Patrick gave the benediction.
Music for the baccalaureate service was led by Dr. J. Brooks Kuykendall, organist, and the Erskine Choraleers, led by Dr. Mark Nabholz.