Acknowledging the Foundations of our Lives, with Christ as our Cornerstone
Prof. Lourdes Angela F. Piñero, Chairperson, Psychology Department
(Message delivered during the Honors Day Convocation of the Elementary Department on July 22, 2013 at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium.)
Just a few years ago, I was not sitting where you are now. During our time, we were seated beside the elementary school stage, but I'm pretty sure I felt the same way that you are feeling right now.
When I received the message requesting me to deliver the message for the Elementary School Honor's day, my “Sillimanian Instinct” kicked in and I had confirmed my willingness before I even knew what I was supposed to talk about. Nobody can ever refuse dear ol' Silliman, it becomes ingrained in us 🙂 Nevertheless, when I asked Mrs. Alcantara, the chairperson of your Honor's Day committee what the theme for this day was, she then told me it was going to be the same one as the University's UCLEM: “Jesus Christ, the Chief Cornerstone”. Thus, today I would like to specifically talk about “Acknowledging the Foundations of our Lives, with Christ as our Cornerstone”.
It would not require my knowledge in Psychology to remind me that in elementary school, we are faced with so many new things. This is where we start to discover the world outside of the confines of our own homes, this is when we start making friends who are not our siblings or cousins, this is also when we start discovering a different way of thinking. Experiencing these can bring a mixture of strange and wonderful sensations and feelings. This can also be the time when we start forming the persons that we want to become. At a certain point, our reasoning also becomes more complex and our choices will also take a new life. One that we will see the next things that happen to us will build on. Therefore, it is important that we realize that where our lives are built on matters– and it matters a lot.
Perhaps it is best to review a bit of the terms first. Engineers and architects would define the term “cornerstone” as the first stone which is laid as the foundation of a building, significant because ON it will the whole house be built on. The foundation is that part of the building that transmits the weight of the building to the ground. The foundation is important because it allows the house to stand amidst the various conditions that it is exposed to. Moreover, builders of houses also say that there are different types of foundations depending on what the situation calls for best. In our lives, we may also be able to see this. There are many types of foundations that exist in our lives but let me just talk of three, that I see as the most significant and of course I shall conclude with how Jesus Christ is, and should always be the cornerstone.
First, the foundation that are our parents and families. There might be no better way to exemplify “carrying our weight to the ground” than what our they do in our lives. Our parents are a reflection of how our God is to all of us. They carry the weight of the responsibility of molding us by showing us love and correcting our ways when we fail to choose correctly. I am reminded of my own experience when I reflect on this. All throughout my elementary school days, I was once enrolled in dance lessons which pretty much took up all of my afternoons. When my mother told me to stop going to dance classes, I was very upset and even angry at her. I, however, realized that what she made me do allowed me to explore more areas in my life and made room for me to grow more. Everything that we are is of the assistance of our parents. They share in our heartaches and beam with pride at our victories. The first of the Ten Commandments is even to “Honor thy father and thy mother in the Lord”. Today, as the honor students are given the spotlight, I would like to ask their parents to stand and be thanked by your children who are on stage.
Also, we recognize our teachers as part of the foundation that our lives are built on. For we know that more than the knowledge that they share with us, our teachers also become the “parents” that we look up to in school. We know that imparting knowledge in the subjects that we must take in school is but a small portion of what they do. We all know that beyond the classroom walls, they also spend time to listen to us, to coach us and advise us on several different matters that are not what is written in our books. Whenever I pass by this verse on a poster along the hallway connecting the Ausejo Hall Building to the Katipunan Hall, I cannot help but get reminded of what my teachers have contributed to my life: “A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in the bank…but the world may be a better place because I made a difference in the life of a child.” – This was written by Forest Witcraft –a teacher, a scholar and Boy Scout Administrator in the United States. (Acknowledge teachers, let honor students acknowledge, thank teachers).
Another foundation that I consider are my friends. Elementary school is where we first come into the realization of what the word “friend” really means. The friends that we gain in school and throughout our lives were also put there for a reason, that is to help in the managing of our weight lest we fall to the ground. I like how God explains why He put friends on Earth in Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10 and 12, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath another to help him up…And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” I can very well attest to this. The friends that I met, especially in elementary school, have seen me through many victories and many falls, they have truly been there to share in both. Treasure the friends that you gain, their presence is not merely random but God drew them in our lives' designs.
Finally, to wrap up this message, we must not fail to acknowledge the Architect who planned all these even before the foundations of the world, and who, as in the verse in Isaiah 28:16 says, is a “sure foundation, Jesus Christ”. The foundations that I previously mentioned are part of the Great Architecture of our lives but the designer of which has also declared that even they, must stand on the Chief Cornerstone. It is therefore important that we also know that we stand on an unshakeable Foundation. So that we are assured of this, He also made sure that we are properly instructed through His Word. The Bible is full of amazing stories that will help us in all the things that we are and will be going through in life. This is also where we can be reminded that our life comes with a manual, that if we ever find ourselves in situations where we feel like there is a little bit of shaking, we are assured that through knowing who our Cornerstone is, and allowing ourselves to also see what He can do in our lives, surely we will not be afraid of the little shakes that we feel.
Dear honor students, beyond your success marked by today, are more things to learn, there are more experiences to go through, there are more values to embrace. I pray that you will not take the foundations set for you by our Great Architect for granted. Remember their importance. I think we might be familiar with the Parable of the two builders, taught by Jesus: the two men who built their houses on different grounds: on eon sand and the other on a rock. When the winds and the storm came, I think we all know which house withstood that. May you all be like the man who built his house on stone, that when the tides and the wind come, you shall all be standing and standing strong at that.