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ISSUE 117 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 5/7/2004

Thomforde ends year with advice, inspiration

By Jane Dudzinski
News Editor


Friday, May 7, 2004

It just would not be springtime at St. Olaf without students sporting sandals, professors bringing their classes outside and President Christopher Thomforde speaking in chapel.

To an audience comprised of more faculty members and administrators than students Tuesday morning, Thomforde used a prayer from the Lutheran Book of Worship that he called "one prayer to help us through the year" as the basis for his discussion.

In an effort to "reflect upon this concluding time of year" and "what it might mean to live out our lives through Jesus Christ," Thomforde examined the language of the prayer while drawing connections to life at St. Olaf.

The President began by defining the purpose of prayer in everyday life.

"Prayer is a part of an ongoing conversation with God," Thomforde said. "Prayer is one response that resonates with every experience that we have."

Probing the deeper meaning of the prayer's language, Thomforde related the etymology of the words "God" and "good," along with that the idea of "caring" for someone stems from "carrying" that person.

He then connected the prayers purpose with the life of an everyday college student.

"Life is a gift," Thomforde said. "The fundamental purpose of a St. Olaf education is to discover the gifts we have and to use those gifts well."

His speech focused on the varying factors that motivate people to act "for the sake" of someone or something else. Citing such motivations as relationships, ideas and causes, Thomforde encouraged seeking a greater "for the sake of."

"To act in the name of Jesus Christ will give you the power to go forward & even if you are only 80 percent sure," Thomforde said. "And that's the best we can do."

He offered the example of the forthcoming graduation as an instance when he will be called upon to act for the sake of Christ. He explained that he will not participate in the ceremony for himself, but for "the state of Minnesota, the Board of Regents and the mission of the College."

Acknowledging that sometimes people may wonder for whose sake they are performing a particular task and doubt who will protect them, Thomforde ended his speech by advocating that students conclude their semesters for the sake of Jesus.

"[Christ is] someone who has loved me greatly and eternally," Thomforde said. "And for the sake of that love, I would dedicate myself to this place."





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