Westmont Magazine First Things
Well, I am sitting here in my new office trying to figure out what to do. My books are all in place. Judy helped me to rearrange the furniture, so the office appears to be prepared for the next venture. And one of my professors when I was a student at Westmont called me Mr. President this morning. It is all rather humbling, to be honest with you. And amazing. And a little scary. Because in many ways, I am still the boy, wet behind the ears, that my professor knew some 30-plus years ago.
Interestingly, my morning reading today took me to Psalm 125. “Those who trust in the Lord are secure as Mt. Zion,” says the psalmist. “They will not be defeated, but will endure forever. Just as the mountains surround and protect Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds and protects His people, both now and forever.” Scripture has a way of speaking into my experience, especially the Psalms, and especially this morning. And of course, this Psalm is not for me, but for all of us who “trust in the Lord.” Offices may change. Titles may change. Responsibilities get shifted around periodically. But the One who holds the future in His hands remains the same. He is the One who surrounds and protects His people, both now and forever.
I think that is a promise that we can take some comfort in at this moment in time. That is true for you, as you adjust to a new president. But it is true for me as well, as I take on new responsibilities. Our security is not up for grabs, nor is our future. It is in the hands of the One who created us in the first place. But as Psalm 125 makes clear, all of His comfort comes with a singular condition: Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mt. Zion, says the psalmist.
And so I come to you this day, as your president, and make this confession: My trust is in the Lord, and in the Lord alone. I believe He is the One who has called this college into being, and He alone will take it where it ought to go. And for that reason, I am confident about the future, and excited about what’s in store for Westmont around the bend. What a privilege it is to serve each of you through this new role. And what a joy it is to know that we are as secure as Mt. Zion, because the Lord surrounds and protects His people, both now and forever.
OK, sermon’s over. Why don’t you drop by and see my new digs? If the door is closed assume I’m working. Either that, or have given up on the accessibility deal. Just kidding. Have a great day.
Editor’s Note: President Gaede sent this memo out to faculty and staff during his first week in office. He became the seventh president of Westmont on July 1, succeeding David Winter who served as president for 25 years.