8/24/2008 - Annual 'Rose Sunday' marks new academic year
By Michael J. Brooks
Participants in Judson College's 93rd annual "Rose Sunday" service on Aug. 24 were happy after a rain-soaked weekend to find a clear morning as they walked the few blocks from the college to Siloam Baptist Church.
The rainy remnants of Hurricane Fay left the Marion community quite soggy, but the students encountered only a little wind as they gathered for this year's event.
Students donned white gloves and many wore hats for the traditional processional and worship service marking the commencement of the new academic year which began the previous week.
Rose Sunday was first observed on Sept. 19, 1915, but has its origins much earlier in a practice begun by the founder and first college president Milo P. Jewett. Jewett, who underscored the value of worship by walking with students to Siloam every Sunday.
Judson seniors began the day, appropriately in front of Jewett Hall, by passing through a woven ivy chain, crafted and held by the underclassmen in their honor--another long-standing tradition at the college. Each senior wore her academic regalia and a single red rose--the college's signature flower.
Judson president Dr. David Potts then lead the procession to the church for worship.
Members of Siloam Baptist Church met earlier in the day in order to accommodate the Judson students, faculty and staff at the traditional late morning worship time.
After music by the college's concert choir, Rev. Scott Schuyler, Siloam's pastor, delivered a challenge to the students.
Referring to Paul's hymn to Jesus in Philippians 2, Schuyler said that Jesus is our greatest example in humility and service.
"If you follow him, you'll make your parents proud," he said. "If you follow him, you'll make your professors proud. But no matter the reaction of others, Christians are called to follow him."
Potts then brought laughter from the crowd by reading some "general regulations" from early college catalogues.
Students had to have permission from the principal to leave campus, to receive any magazines or newspapers and to open accounts in Marion. Letters were subject to inspection unless written to parents or guardians, and two offenses merited expulsion: dipping snuff and "communicating with unmarried gentlemen."
Potts then turned to the purpose of the day, noting that sociologists call the present generation the "mosaics."
"As a group, your generation takes a 'cut and paste' approach to life," he said. "If an idea, philosophy, a particular aspect of a religion, or thought pleases you or seems right by your standard, then you cut and paste it to your life. If I may loosely call this a 'philosophy of life,' I would point out that the practice is a direct product of the relativism that has become so dominant in western thought in my generation."
Potts noted that popular music and drama often talks about making bad decisions and facing devastating consequences.
"Like the song says, 'you're looking for love (or meaning) in all the wrong places,'" he said.
Quoting Judson's founder, Potts noted that Jewett often used the prepositional phrase, "of Christ," to refer to Judson College.
"Perhaps you are at a crossroads in your life, seeking direction, seeking meaning, seeking a world-view, seeking truth, seeking God," he said.
"Milo Parker Jewett in another century and David Potts in this century would commend two words, 'of Christ.' As Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life.'"
See Photos of Rose Sunday 2008!
* Article courtesy of Judson College Public Relations Department