What do the swine flu outbreak and this year's graduating class have in common?
What do the swine flu outbreak and this year's graduating class have in common? For over a week now global news outlets have made the North American Human Influenza A (H1N1) virus their lead story! And when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the World Health Organization in Geneva both weigh in on the headline and declare varying states of emergency, who doesn’t take notice? Costa Rican health officials are now discouraging the traditional kiss-on-the-cheek greeting. Israeli officials are suggesting that the virus should be renamed the Mexcian flu, since the reference to pigs is offensive to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork. Mexican officials aren’t responding to their suggestion, and who can blame them! After all, no one is sure yet where the virus originated.
The good news is that this never-before-seen strain of influenza—a mix of pig, human and bird viruses—can apparently be contained and controlled, much like previous flu outbreaks. And a vaccine is reported to be ready by early May. So public health officials are stressing there is no need for panic.
The bad news is that this new flu strain is highly contagious. And therein lies the something-in-common with the graduates of Andrews University this weekend. Not that any of you has contracted this flu (as did a Notre Dame University student this past week). But rather that the very mission of Seventh-day Adventist Christian education that Andrews University embraces is by definition intended to render all graduates contagious for Christ. Which is why our prayer here at Pioneer for all of you who embark on your new post-graduation venture is a simple one. We’ve been honored to be your spiritual home-away-from-home, and your presence here over the years has blessed us. Now we pray a special outpouring of the Spirit of Christ upon you—so that wherever you go in the journey ahead, his radical love for this world will shine through you, rendering you a contagious primetime change agent for his kingdom!
Because truth be known (and it is), the most serious pandemic this civilization faces can only be remedied by the vaccine of Calvary’s sacrifice. And because you know Jesus personally, you’re the most logical person on earth (in the school or office or workplace where you’re headed) to be the contagious carrier of his life-giving grace and power. "But thanks be to God, who always leads us . . . and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of [Christ] everywhere" (II Corinthians 2:14 TNIV). So go forth and be contagious for him. We're cheering you on!
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