Southwestern Adventist University is preparing to welcome over 600 alumni for a homecoming weekend that will be filled with reflection and reminiscing.
While planning for homecoming, my thoughts wandered back to rural Tennessee where my parents still reside, living in the same house I have called home since high school. I recall many happy times returning to east Tennessee to reunite with my family and enjoy their wonderful company. At first, the gatherings were small, visits with my parents, three brothers and sister, and sometimes a handful of friends. But over the decades, our family has grown to include spouses, then nephews and nieces, and their spouses and now their children. The times are different now, but ever richer in memories and love with the exponential growth of our family. I have come to value the statement, “There is no place like home.” I am drawn home by the people who love me, by the familiar surroundings, and by the wonderful memories that have blessed my life.
I am so pleased to know that for the past 125 years, alumni from Southwestern Adventist University feel this same way about returning home to their alma mater each spring. Drawn back by professors that encouraged them to find their life’s passion and then to pursue it, and by the enduring landmarks like the Mizpah Gate, the duck pond, and Barron Chapel that bring back fond recollections of college life, alumni come each year to reconnect and renew relationships with their Southwestern family of teachers and classmates.
In Cleburne, we have an annual homecoming of sorts with the Holy Week Services leading up to Easter. For 42 years, hundreds of Christians from various denominations are drawn together each year to be inspired by the singing, prayer, special music, and gifted speakers; the services all focus on the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior and the great hope we have in Jesus. As Christians, we share that one day we will have a homecoming like none we have experienced on earth, where celebration will be the norm, where we will be united with friends and family, where there will be no more sorrow, no more death, and no more pain. Though I love meeting our alumni for homecoming weekend and I love going home to be with my parents and visiting my brothers and sisters and their families, and I love gathering with fellow Christians to worship a living God during Holy Week services, I eagerly await the greatest homecoming ever, where “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9.
This article is an opinion piece written by President Shaw for the Cleburne Times Review.