A personal encounter with Jesus Christ --- there are many and varied opportunities for this life-changing experience at Silliman University (SU) during University Christian Life Emphasis Month (UCLEM).
UCLEM, spearheaded by the University Spiritual Life Council, is conducted once every semester. The Silliman community celebrated UCLEM last month with the theme, “In Christ Alone,” which is based on Acts 4:11-12: “Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”
SU is known as a leading Christian institution. Silliman’s mission of “building character, competence, and faith is anchored on the Gospel of Christ,” who is the “Via, Veritas, Vita” (“the Way, the Truth, and the Life”). This is taken from John 14:6 where Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father except through me.” The Latin translation that is used as the motto of the university and the cross that stands on top of the Silliman Church symbolize the university’s commitment to Jesus Christ.
The need for a personal encounter with Christ is illustrated in the life of the Apostle Paul, one of the greatest men in the Bible. When he was still known as Saul, this “chief of sinners,” as he called himself, persecuted those who followed Christ. He was on his way to Damascus to arrest Christians there when the risen Christ appeared to him and turned his life around. After that life-changing experience, Paul spent the rest of his life serving Christ by serving others.
SU’s campus chaplaincy thus “proclaim(s) Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and invites all to become Christ’s disciples so they may live a life of service to others.” According to Pastor Mark Augusto, minister of students and campus chaplaincy, faith has two dimensions. A personal encounter with Christ doesn’t end in “valuing our intimacy with [Him].” Another dimension of the faith, the social dimension, should also not be neglected. Pastor Augusto said, “while we value our intimate and personal relationship (with) the Lord, we should as well express that through our relationship with other people because it is through that [that] we can really manifest our faith in concrete manners.” True faith in Christ results in a life that is willing to serve others.
“Via, Veritas, Vita” is more than just a university motto. It is Christ Himself, the foundation of Silliman University — One who can be encountered personally through faith. He set the example when He came to earth “not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). The same is the ultimate goal of Silliman education—producing graduates who live a life of service to others.