People thought we were crazy when we told them we were moving from sunny, warm, North Carolina, to Monmouth, Illinois in the dead of winter. “What’s taking you there?” people asked, naturally curious. If the question was asked in passing, and if I didn’t know the person well, my answer was short and simple: “We have new positions at the college there.” But for those whom we knew well, the answer was different: “We are moving to Monmouth, Illinois because we believe it will be good.”
Now belief is not certainty. Belief comes hand-in-hand with doubt, questions, and fears. And we certainly experienced doubt, questions, and fears as we said goodbye to people whom we loved, as we left behind all that was familiar and comfortable, and as we loaded up our two cars, our two kids, and our dog and began the long, snowy three day drive that would get us here. But what kept us going, what kept pushing us forward through all the doubts, questions, and fears, was the belief that this move would be good.
During my first week here I took a moment to go and sit by myself in Dahl Chapel. I chose a seat in the middle of the chapel so I could look up and take in all of the architectural beauty of that space. Dahl Chapel is beautiful and inspiring. As I sat there alone I found myself contemplating our move, contemplating all the new things I was learning here, contemplating all the new people I was meeting, contemplating who I wanted to be and how I wanted to serve you as your new college chaplain. While I was contemplating all of this I looked up and noticed for the first time something that should have been obvious to me from the very moment I stepped in the chapel; a large white arch over the chancel with bold maroon letters that read, “Sit Lux.” Let there be light.
In chapter one of the book of Genesis, God created the heavens and the earth and then God said, “Let there be light.” And God saw that the light was good.
We came here because we believe it will be good. We came following the light that emanates from this campus, from this campus community, from the people who work here and the students who study here. We came following the light that emanates from the opportunities that lie here…opportunities to serve and opportunities to learn and grow among you. We came here following the light. We came here following the good light that is already warming us…even in the dead of an Illinois winter.