Today we open the doors of Crown College for its 23rd year. I remember well the day 19 years ago this week when I showed up at Crown College for the first time. I remember those who showed me around. I remember Pastor Sexton’s interest in every student. I remember those I roomed with (some of them are very hard to forget!). Most of all, I remember the spirit of anticipation and expectancy.
Our campus is much larger now. The buildings more extensive. The student body and faculty have grown. But some things never change. That same spirit is evident this morning and we are believing that the best is yet to come! Our God is at work and is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20).
Pastor Sexton has said many times that the Christian life is a series of new beginnings. I always love the start of a new school year. It is not just a new beginning for the institution; it is a new beginning for individuals.
When I was just a boy I was required to learn a poem by Susan Coolidge. The opening lines have come to me again and again through the years:
Every day is a fresh beginning,
Every morn is the world made new;
You who are weary of sorrow and sinning,
Here is a beautiful hope for you-
A hope for me and a hope for you.
All the past things are past and over,
The tasks are done and the tears are shed;
Yesterday’s errors let yesterday cover;
Yesterday’s wounds, which smarted and bled,
Are healed with the healing which night has shed.
Yesterday now is a part of forever,
Bound up in a sheaf, which God holds tight;
With glad days and sad days and bad days which never
Shall visit us more with their bloom and their blight,
Their fullness of sunshine or sorrowful night.
Let them go, since we cannot relive them,
Cannot undo, and cannot atone.
God in His mercy, receive, forgive them;
Only the new days are our own
Today is ours, and today alone.
Here are the skies all burnished brightly,
Here is the spent earth all reborn,
Here are the tired limbs springing lightly
To face the sun and to share with the morn,
In the chrism of dew and the cool of dawn.
Everyday is a fresh beginning;
Listen, my soul, to the glad refrain,
And, spite of old sorrow and old sinning,
And puzzles forecasted and possible pain,
Take heart with the day, and begin again.
Today is a new beginning for us all. At Crown College there is a buzz of excitement. Students are arriving. There are new projects just completed, and, as always, some paint still drying somewhere. But wherever you are, whoever you are – this day is a chance for a new beginning with God.