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Chapel Kicks Off with Commissioning Prayer

Students in Anderson Chapel

CHICAGO, IL (August 27, 2008) – A surge of vitality infused the campus of North Park University as students returned from summer vacation and classes reconvened on Monday, August 25. That energy was matched by Campus Pastor Judy Peterson’s spirited delivery of a challenging inaugural chapel address on Wednesday morning.

Freedom was the theme of Peterson’s message, which began with an unusual personal anecdote. “I travel out of O’Hare Airport several times a month,” she explained. “About a year ago I walked into Terminal One . . . and it was then I noticed a small creature who was captive.”

She went on to describe her attempt to free a sparrow trapped inside the airport—one that “could see the wide open sky on the other side, but just couldn’t seem to get there.”

She used the story to illustrate how God desires freedom for all of His children, and for every North Park student navigating the turbulent waters of college life, with all of its inherent academic and social pressures.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” Peterson said, quoting the Apostle Paul. “Why is it then that so many of us remain captive, in bondage, and stuck? Captive to people’s opinions, stuck in inherited legalism, in bondage to materialism—looking out the window at freedom from our addictions, and yet hitting the glass time and time again.”

The lies people believe about themselves are responsible for such entrapment, Peterson said, and knowing the truth of God’s Word frees all who believe.

The service concluded with a commissioning prayer, as faculty and staff encircled the auditorium of Anderson Chapel and a faculty representative offered a corporate prayer for the student body. A student representative then prayed in turn for University administration.

“Keep your eyes open this year,” Peterson charged students, encouraging them to pursue freedom not only for themselves, but also for the benefit of others. “You may find that God will show you that small ordinary sparrow—that captive that nobody else notices . . . and we pray that you would remember you have been called to lay down your free life for the freedom of another.”

Listen to North Park University’s chapel services online by visiting www.northpark.edu/umin.