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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Monday, May 20, 2024
The Echo
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Cavanagh has campus looking at ‘Life to the Full’ this year

Exploring the hopes behind the chapel theme

Looking toward this year’s chapel schedule, the Rev. Jon Cavanagh, campus pastor, hopes to weave in the theme “Life to the Full.”

This theme is inspired by John 10:10, where Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

As Cavanagh reflected over this passage last year, he began asking what it looks like to have life to the full. 

If Jesus says that our ability to have a life to the fullest was his purpose in coming to earth, clearly that must be an important question to ponder, but what does life to the full look like in day-to-day life?

“I try to make it an inviting approach that helps people engage with the courage to pose questions,” Cavanagh said.

According to Cavanagh, the answer looks different for every person in their different positions in life. Ultimately, it is an active process to thoughtfully explore how convictions and callings direct each person to make decisions.

Building off of last year’s theme, “Consider,” which focused on the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of our actions, Cavanagh hopes everyone can examine their internal motivation. 

Primarily, the theme was made to spur conversation and reflection.

“Especially at this college age, it’s important to start developing ownership and responsibility for choices, and reflecting over how convictions impact actions,” Cavanagh said.

Additionally, Cavanagh looks forward to developing the idea of the Greek word Zoe, which is the word for life used in John 10:10. In English, the fullness of the definition is lost, but the Greek refers to the wholeness of life in a spiritual and physical sense. Hence, life to the full embodies all aspects of life. 

Throughout the year, this theme will be woven subtly into chapel; some speakers may dwell more exclusively on the topic, while others will speak with the underlying reflection and application of life to the full. During J-term, however, life to the full will be more fleshed out through more speakers from on campus. 

The intention is to neither dwell solely on one topic this year nor neglect the self-reflective and applicable nature the theme adds to chapel services. Cavanagh said since over-focusing on one topic can cause it to become redundant or kitschy, he wants to carefully and thoughtfully thread the idea of life to the full throughout the year. 

As another year of chapel lies ahead, Cavanagh also invites students to attend chapel who are looking for authentic moments of growth, recognizing that certain chapels will be more impactful for certain people than others. 

“If you love and connect with every chapel over the course of a semester, then we probably haven’t done our job,” Cavanagh said. “Because if you, as one person, love and connect with every chapel, there’s probably a good chance that there’s a bunch of people that didn’t love or connect with any of them.”

Cavanagh said seeing the way some people resonate with certain types or aspects of chapel services is part of the greatness of God moving individually in them. 

Ultimately, Cavanagh looks forward to seeing the campus grow and be challenged throughout the school year.

“I would love it for students that are here this year, whether freshman or senior, that they would say, ‘Oh, I remember that year when we talked about life and having it in abundance, and during that year and at my time at Taylor, I got a glimpse of that’ . . . I hope it’s something we grow to talk about,” Cavanagh said.