Today's 'thought' was one of interest to me as one who loves and dabbles in history. It is an article that shares Harvard University's Original Purpose and Mission Statement and how it has changed. The author -- Dr. Georgia Purdom -- did not know this, found it interesting, and so I thought you may find it interesting as well.
At a time of year when people are making new resolutions, I thought Harvard's original missions statement might be one you may consider adopting for the upcoming year (and maybe beyond)! For although it is true that like so many they have not kept their resolution, it was/is a worthy resolution, and therefore I submit it to you for your consideration! Enjoy.
"Yesterday our pastor shared with the congregation an interesting story about Harvard University’s seal and motto. The original motto, “Truth (Veritas) for Christ (Christo) and the Church (Ecclesiae),” was adopted in 1692 and was a part of their original seal as seen below (in Latin):
The motto and shield with this original verbiage can still be found at multiple places on Harvard’s campus. It may be difficult to discern from this picture, but the Harvard Graduate Christian Community website states the following: "Interestingly, the top two books on the shield are face up while the bottom book is face down. This symbolizes the limits of reason, and the need for God’s revelation."
At some point in Harvard’s history the motto was changed to simply “Truth” and the seal changed to that pictured below:
In the modern Harvard seal notice all three books now face up. This symbolizes a belief that there is no limit to man’s reasoning and God’s revelation is no longer needed. The change in the motto reflects a change in the university’s mission.
The Harvard Graduate Christian Community website states this:
1. Harvard University was founded in 1636 with the intention of establishing a school to train Christian ministers. In accordance with that vision, Harvard’s “Rules and Precepts,” adopted in 1646, stated:
2. Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only gives wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of him (Prov. 2:3).
3. Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day, that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein, both in theoretical observations of language and logic, and in practical and spiritual truths, as his Tutor shall require, according to his ability; seeing the entrance of the word gives light, it gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130).
This is obviously no longer their mission, and thus “Christ and the Church” were removed from the motto. How sad to see a university that was founded by a minister—solidly believing that knowledge, wisdom, and understanding come only from God’s Word—now believe that truth can be found apart from God and elevate man above God as the ultimate authority."
With prayers for a spiritually prosperous new year. In His Service, Pastor Jeff