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Reading from Isaiah 40:3-5

A voice of one crying out
In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.
 Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.

Naomi Quinn, Professor Emeritus of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, conducted her research on Americans’ cultural view of marriage and unions, and the common theme she learned that these life partnerships are viewed as a journey, together in this life…sharing the richness of life together and sharing in its wonders and challenges.

Our lives are made up many chapters on this life journey, and as we grow in our communities, life shapes us and opens our eyes to the possibilities of how we will continue to evolve intellectually and socially. 

In the mainstream culture of the United States, we are marked by our determination of our histories, a cultural history of “self-reliance” and “rugged individualism”.  This determination can take many forms and have its symbols.  As the rugged beauty of the Rockies which overlook our pristine campus, casting shadows down upon us, remind us of their natural glory and presence.  Mountain climbers are our symbols, climbing daunting peaks sometimes in the face of nature’s wrath, colliding with our own human determination, we continue to push harder and harder to make it to these summits, and other personal and professional summits in our lives… sometimes against all of the signs that suggest that we should try again when we’re empowered by a team effort.

Our success should look beyond our culture of “self-reliance” since achievement and success of finding ourselves on many summits are richer experiences when we look around among us.  The diversity of our community and the wealth of talents, can make our journeys to many summits in this life much more fulfilling, and to take the initiative to make those connections. 

T.S. Eliot once wrote, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”  

We pray and encourage you, as we enter this new academic year, to continue to take the initiative in seeking communities which will help all of us reach these heights together.  Learning new languages, taking the time to listen to the life stories of others, and studying intercultural experiences are some ways to broaden the horizons of each other’s lives and to reach true human summits by empowering others who are also on this life journey with us, and especially those who have lived lives constricted by marginalization.  The teachings of the Buddha emphasize that “a generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”

Looking across to Pikes Peak this morning, I thought of the Book of Psalms.

Psalms 121:1. “A song of ascents.  I lift up my eyes to the mountains.  Where does my help come from?”  This is shared by all of us. 

- Alexander B. Hernandez-Siegel
  Chaplain and Associate Dean of Students
  August 28, 2017


Oh, Creator that we know by many names,

As we enter a new year of learning and growth at Colorado College, we ask that you bless us on our endeavors.  It is a time of renewal and wonder, and we are grateful for the opportunities which await us.

The core of knowledge is one of seeking and exploration in the quest to find deeper meaning in the subjects and values which encircle our humanity. 

Give us the strength to work toward your glory and your will for our community, and to help us to continue to define our common goals…to support one another and to find the best qualities among all of us.   We also ask that in the development of our future leaders among us on campus that you continue to fill their vision with sustained direction balanced with love and humility. 

Help us to apply our wisdom and passion during times of glory… and strength during times of challenge on campus, in our nation, and in the world, expanding our definition of the healing arts for a world which continues to search for a guiding light and peace.

We ask this in your name.  Amen. 

- Alexander B. Hernandez-Siegel
  Chaplain and Associate Dean of Students
  August 28, 2017