Erskine College and Theological Seminary honored graduating students May 4 during a morning celebration under…
Tuesday’s chapel message, “God is Able,” based on Ephesians 3:14-21, began with some audience participation at the request of the speaker, the Rev. Clint Davis. Davis asked everyone gathered in the Due West ARP Church to raise their hands in response to a series of questions.
“How many of you have dreams?” he asked, and then, “Have all your dreams been realized?” Observing the responses, he said, “Do you believe there is a gap between your dreams and your present reality?” and finished by asking, “Do you have a plan for realizing your dreams?”
An Erskine Seminary graduate and member of the Erskine Board of Trustees, Davis has served for 15 years as pastor of Chester ARP Church, but said he is still young enough to remember what being a college student is like. “You’ve got a lot on your minds,” he said. He asked students to put their many concerns aside during his talk.
“You are privileged to have been encouraged to dream,” Davis said, noting that in many cultures, no such encouragement is given. But even in a society where people are urged to follow their dreams, “All of us have lived in the gap between dreams and present reality,” he said, and offered an example from his own life.
When Davis was a college student, his dream was to take an opportunity to travel and work in Eastern Europe, but despite his efforts to carry out his plan, his parents said “No” to it, and he kept hitting roadblocks. That didn’t stop him from continuing his attempt realize his dream.
“I became more and more frustrated and thought everyone had a better life than I did, and parents who loved them more than my parents loved me,” he said.
In the gap between dreams and reality, a cyclical pattern of denial, determination, depression, and despair can lead to cynicism, especially for someone who goes through the cycle several times. But even for someone who has descended into cynicism—as Davis did when he could not realize his dream—there is hope.
“If you are a Christian, you have an eternal hope. The struggle is to live presently in the reality of this eternal hope,” Davis said.
All of us “attach our story to a larger, greater story,” that of a team, a school, even a local church. In the Christian view, “God has a story, and you can be a part of it in Jesus Christ.”
As people move through the confusion and difficulties of life, “We struggle to find our way in our story,” Davis said, adding, “You can’t control your story.”
The Christian faith asserts that God, who raised Jesus from the dead, “is good and right and has a purpose in all His work,” and thus “rooting yourself in the story of God is the best thing,” Davis advised his listeners.
“God’s dreams for you are greater than your dreams for yourself.”
Chapel worship was led by Erskine Chaplain Paul Patrick, and music was provided by the women’s ensemble Bella Voce, conducted and accompanied by Dr. Keith Timms.