Message from the Alumni Director
“I in them and You in Me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” John 17:23
This past month, we commemorated Multnomah’s 75th anniversary with a special Homecoming Week celebration. Traveling from California, Colorado, Canada, and even some as far away as Uganda, hundreds of alumni returned home in celebration of this significant milestone in Multnomah’s history.
The week was packed with exciting activity: A 75th anniversary birthday chapel and ground-breaking ceremony, an awards program honoring some of our distinguished alums, a book release and signing with our president, reunions, ball games, and — a personal favorite — our alumni and friends banquet on Friday night. As I looked out across the room that evening, there wasn’t an open seat in the house. The excitement and energy that filled the room was electrifying.
In keeping with our anniversary theme, Dr. Rick McKinley encouraged us first with the importance of reflecting the light of Christ within our communities. Followed by Professor David Needham, who then reminded us of the absolute miracle it is that Christ lives within us. Ending our evening was Christian music artist Wayne Watson who led us in an extraordinary time of worship. It was an unforgettable evening no doubt.
Professor Needham’s words continue to confront me as I think of his charge to us that evening. Retelling the greatest love story ever told, he spoke of a deep and fervent love relationship between God the Father and God the Son. Out of love for the Son, the Father displayed His glory and out of love for the Father, the Son endured the cross.
“Often we think, and rightly so,” Professor Needham said, “that the cross lets us know how much God loves us (and that’s true), but it first reveals how much Jesus loved His Father. Every step in obedience towards the cross, every scourging of the whip, every pounding of the nails you can hear within Jesus, ‘Father, I love you…I love you…I love you.’”
The Father’s charge to us today is that we would love others just as He has loved the Son and the Son the Father — sharing in that same delight, sacrifice, honor, passion, and closeness. “This is my commandment that you love one another,” Jesus said and thus He prayed for us that the love the Father has for Jesus would be in us as Jesus is in us: “I in them and You in Me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.”
“It is one thing to know that I am loved and to respond to that love,” Professor Needham encouraged us, “but it is another thing for that love to actually be in me.” Perfect love has come to dwell in us through Christ in order that His love be poured out for others. “Could there be any greater miracle or sign that would impact our world more than to see that love poured out?” Needham asked. “Not just our feeble love, but the very love of God — like water on thirsty ground, like light in the darkness.”
When he finished speaking, there was a tangible presence of reverence felt within the room as we sat reflecting on the miracle of such amazing love. Not only the love of God for the Son and Jesus’ love for the Father, but also God’s love for us…for all humanity and His charge for us to love the world.
What an appropriate reflection for us this Lenten season as we draw our attention to the sacrifice of the cross. The miracle of Christ’s sacrifice has allowed God Himself to take up residence within our lives so that His love may be seen in the world through us. My prayer for us today is that we would be reminded of the miracle of this reality anew and that His love would overflow from our lives and spill out on to others for His glory.
Being poured out,
Michelle M. Peel (BA ’00, MA ’10)
Director of Alumni Relations