PLAINVIEW, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) — The following is a press release from Wayland Baptist University:
Wayland Baptist University President Dr. Bobby Hall welcomed students to campus during convocation chapel on Wednesday, ushering in the Fall 2021 term.
“To paraphrase the apostle Paul, ‘We have longed day and night to see you, that we may be filled with joy,’” Hall said. “Today, we, the faculty and staff of Wayland, are filled with joy and are so glad that you are here.”
Dr. Hall opened the chapel service with a moment of silence in memory of Elana Vasquez, Christian Orozco and Brian Anderson, students who lost their lives in an automobile accident earlier in the summer.
Following the moment of silence, Hall recognized three students and alums who participated in the Tokyo Olympics, including gold-medal winning wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock. While detailing Mensah-Stock’s accomplishments, Hall told the story of the Olympic torch and the relay that leads to the lighting of the flame prior to each Olympics. While the history and pageantry is fascinating, Hall focused on the fact that the flame is not supposed to go out during the relay, tying that into the university’s Fuel the Flame theme for the year.
“Our theme for this year didn’t come about because this was the year for the Olympics, but it is a nice coincidence,” he said.
The theme comes from Leviticus 6:13, discussing how priests were required to perform offerings for those who had sinned. These offerings were required to be on the altar all night, and the flame was never to be extinguished. Just as the priests had to stay awake feeding the fire, Hall said the fire of Christian faith needs to be fed in order to keep it burning as well.
“Our faith needs to be constantly rekindled through prayer, reading of scripture, worship and fellowship together just as we are doing today, and with continuous, intentional Christian service to each other and to our communities,” Hall said.
He continued by saying that many Christian colleges and universities were founded on the belief that education should be Christian and that higher learning should shape the lives of its students, and serve both the church and society.
“Here at Wayland, we are proud to embrace our heritage,” Hall said. “We are called to be an example, a shining light in a dark world. Just as the priests fueled the flame in Leviticus, let each of us fuel the flame of Christ in ourselves so that it burns white hot in our lives, on each of our Wayland campuses and in our world.”
(Press release from Wayland Baptist University)