What matters most: Fiat lux!


This column originally appeared in the spring/summer 2015 issue of The Bulletin.

Fiat Lux! “Let there be light!” These are the very first spoken words in Holy Scripture. And they are spoken by the Creator God. These words serve as the motto of some 50 colleges and universities and other educational institutions around the world. The official seal of Goshen College incorporates this sentiment – a lighted-lamp on a book surrounded by our motto: “Culture for Service.” Clearly, light as illumination, light as created energy, light as enlightenment pushing against ignorance, is a near perfect symbol of a well-rounded liberal arts education.

Fiat Lux! “Let there be light! And, behold, there was light!” A very big and bright bang, indeed. Light was the first work of Creation. At the instant of its creation, light burst forth to be shared with the whole universe. Light shined indiscriminately to the whole world: saint and sinner, believer and unbeliever, friend and enemies. Just as God makes it rain on the just and the unjust, so God also makes the sun shine on the deserving and undeserving. Light travels lightly, rays filtering through forests, seeping into our days, bursting forth into sunrise, peeking from behind clouds, mirrored by the moon. Light just happens, it seems.

Fiat Lux! “Let there be light. . . and there was light. And God called the light good!” And Jesus focused the stardust on us saying, “You are the light of the world!” How noble, how great a calling is that?

Fiat Lux! Here at Goshen College when we say “Let there be light,” our expectations are no less today than when these words were first uttered by God at the dawn of Creation. We proclaim the Good News that the light of Christ, the divine inner light in our students, faculty, staff and our many alums is meant to be shared with the universe. Just as a candle is not diminished by lighting another candle, our lights are never diminished by crossing borders of orthodoxy, faith, propriety, belief or culture to be a light for and with others. Indeed, light overflows borders readily; it is in its nature to do so. Sunlight, moonlight, starlight and light in general, shines across national, denominational, political, geographical, ideological, racial, ethnic and sexual lines drawn in the sand. Light travels fast, not loaded down with stuff that hinders it from picking up and moving beyond the bounds, beyond its own limitations, beyond zones of comfort, in order to shine forth hope and healing to the world.

This Bulletin shares just a few of the many rays of healing and hope that shine each and every day on campus and around the world as we seek to live fully into our vision of intercultural and international education. To you our alums, to you our recent graduates, to you our GC family and friends, Fiat Lux! Let there be light! And let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

– Dr. James E. Brenneman, President of Goshen College