How to Find "The Big H"
May 11, 2013
It was a very familiar figure who delivered the homily at Catawba College's Baccalaureate Service on May 10. On the eve of their graduation, College Chaplain and Senior Vice President, the Reverend Dr. Ken Clapp '70, advised the graduates to "Take wing by giving God that place of greatest importance in your lives and allowing God to direct you and call the shots.";
The Baccalaureate Service was held in Omwake-Dearborn Chapel and included an original song, "Unbounded," written by 2013 graduate Dustin Shelton of Kannapolis and performed by Jennifer Pettigrew '14 of Salisbury. Clapp's remarks were titled, "There is Life after Catawba."
Noting that most students in a recent informal survey he had conducted said they want "the Big H — happiness" in their lives, Clapp paraphrased Frederick Koenig saying, "Happiness does not come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude," Clapp continued. "As beings with finite minds, we feel a need to aggregate things ... bigger is better and we place importance upon hierarchy ... if I am at a higher position in my job than you are in yours, I am some way better, I have achieved more. But will this approach bring us happiness?"
He told those gathered that "God wants us to be happy." He said that Jesus even shared eight keys to obtaining happiness in the eight Beatitudes, and suggested that these held the secrets for the graduates "to find life after Catawba."
"Jesus said, 'You want to be happy? Become humble ... or become poor in spirit ... for then you shall have it all ... you shall have the kingdom of heaven.'" Clapp said. "Jesus said, 'You want to be happy? Become meek…then you shall inherit the earth.' Both of these Beatitudes suggest that the way we need to look at who we are."
Clapp concluded his homily telling the students "I pray that you will open your hearts to understanding that such joy comes when we avail ourselves to the grace and the love that God offers and seeks to give us."
Following the Baccalaureate Service, those in attendance watched as the graduates, each holding lit candles, moved from the Omwake-Dearborn Chapel along Oliver's Way to the exterior of the Robertson College-Community Center in the traditional Marshal's Walk. There, by candlelight, they heard brief remarks from outgoing Senior Class President Joe Peterson of Chestertown, Md., outgoing SGA Executive President Jana Burkhardt of Wake Forest, incoming SGA Executive President T.J. Olsen of Pineville, and College Marshal David Pulliam. A reception in Peeler Crystal Lounge concluded the evening.