‘Love God With Entire Being,’ EMU President Exhorts

 Brian Martin Burkholder leads prayer, commissioning cross-cultural group
Brian Martin Burkholder, EMU campus pastor, leads in prayer for the EMU cross-cultural group who will spend fall semester in a cross- cultural seminar in Europe, primarily Italy and Switzerland.
Photo by Jim Bishop

On one occasion, when asked which commandments in the scriptures were most important, Christ responded, “Love God with your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

On Wednesday morning Sept. 1, the first day of the fall semester classes at Eastern Mennonite University, President Loren E. Swartzendruber outlined what this might mean for the campus community.

“As a Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, with roots deep in the liberal arts, we intend to love God with heart, mind, soul, and strength,” Swartzendruber told students, faculty and staff in an opening convocation address. “We dare to say that our love for God is expressed holistically. We aim for balance in our approach to faith.

“Someone has suggested that if we love God with only a part of our personalities, we will in turn only receive a part of what God wants to be for us,” Swartzendruber said.

To love God with our whole being, he continued, means “to love with your heart, the center of your emotions; your soul, the essence of one’s spiritual being; your mind, the intellect; and your strength.

“Loving God with our hearts is perhaps the easiest of the four ways Christ identifies to love God,” he said. “It is our culture