Torch light at Trinity Western University
The light of a torch can guide you on a path or simply provide valuable illumination on a dark night. Too narrowly focussed light – like a car’s high beams – does not always help illuminate. A torch used destructively can burn instead of filling your soul with the warmth that comes from being able to see well.
On February 8th, 2010, my 11-year old son Victor and I took in the Canadian Olympic torch ceremonies as it passed through our home city of Langley, BC. It was great! On two occasions torchbearers kindly allowed Victor to hold their torch.
Even many cynics would have to admit that the torch relay is a brilliant idea for showcasing the Olympic spirit by involving 12,000 torchbearers across Canada to pass on the light from torchbearer to torchbearer, and also spreading light to the millions of Canadians who have either seen it on TV or lined the streets to see the procession like Victor and I did.
The Olympic torch symbolizes peace, brotherhood and friendship. Certainly Victor and I felt these ideals as we joined the crowd of thousands of local Langleyites at the Langley Events Centre. The crowd was dancing, cheering, yelling, singing, and just being an all-around happy crowd.
Many locals also got to share their talents. We got to see Lauren Barwick light the community cauldron. Barwick, who hails from Aldergrove, won Olympic gold in the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.
We also got to hear a musical presentation from the Langely Fine Arts school, local schoolchildren sing “O Canada” and the Trinity Western University choir sing “There’s a Light/Cette flame”, a song specially composed for the Canadian Olympic torch relay by Gregory Charles.
It was inspiring as a member of the Trinity Western University community and the community of Langley to hear boisterous applause after the Trinity Western University rendition of “There’s a Light/Cette flame”. I thought later how appropriate it was that Trinity Western participated, since the symbol used for Trinity Western University is a torch.
There are those who see Christianity as a dark cloud and wish it would blow away on the wind. Even in very recent days, an article was printed in Maclean’s Magazine advocating Christian universities like Trinity Western deserve such a fate, because of a perceived lack of academic freedom.
We who take Jesus’ words at heart value understand why the torch is such an apt symbol for who we are as Christians and as a Christian university. Jesus said “I am the light of the world.” He tells us not to hide that light, but nowhere tells us to blind people with it through narrow indoctrination or brain washing, or burn people overzealously.
Indeed, I hope observers can see that we at Trinity Western University are torchbearers who shine the light of God’s truth on all fields of study with grace. Our ideals are not unlike those symbolized by the Olympic torch: peace, brotherhood and friendship. These are the ideals that are brightened by coming together to celebrate the best in athletic achievement in the case of the Olympics or the best in scholarly achievement in the case of a university.
Our aim at Trinity is to bring a particular light to the many issues that trouble humanity and the earth, and thereby expanding our ability to deal with these issues – in the freedom of thought that comes from being able to bring a religious perspective alongside the many other scholarly perspectives of a university, e.g., perspectives of science, social science and the arts.
Other universities in Canada are also able to incorporate religious perspectives, but we believe that we are particularly effective in speaking to this dimension Christianly because our faculty all carry the flame of faith. We as faculty also share a belief that all truth is God’s truth, which gives us a passion for learning and sharing the light - faith seeking understanding.