Johnson C. Smith UniversityNews

JCSU Celebrates Graduates In 150th Baccalaureate Service

Graduates and their families joined Johnson C. Smith University faculty and staff in the Jane M. Memorial Church for the University’s sesquicentennial Baccalaureate Service featuring a sermon from the Rev. Dr. L. Bernard Jakes.

The Baccalaureate Service, an annual tradition within the Christian faith, is a religious send-off to graduates who are transitioning from the life of a student to that of a professional. Jakes’ powerful sermon focused on preserving the history of African- and Black Americans.

The scripture from the Book of Joshua focused on the Biblical narrative of Joshua and the Children of Israel crossing the Jordan River on Dry Land. Those who crossed the river took stones as a memorial to remember what God had brought them through.

“The stones in the text were purposed as a memorial to remind those who crossed the Jordan River on dry land how God brought them over and how they did not die in the Jordan River. As God was with Moses at the parting of the Red Sea, God was with Joshua,” said Jakes. “The same God who walked with the graduates of this institution 150 years ago is the same God who walked with you during your four years. Even if it took you 20 years, I just need you to understand that God is the same God who exercises His power to roll back what could have been your watery grave.”

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