Ouachita Baptist University honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a Noonday service held Jan. 19 in Ouachita’s Berry Chapel. Noonday is a student-led worship service held three days a week in the university’s chapel.
University officials also have invited Dr. Lewis Shepherd to address King’s legacy during a Feb. 3 chapel service to launch Black History Month. Dr. Shepherd, Ouachita’s assistant to the president for special programs, also is pastor of Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Arkadelphia.
Ouachita President Rex M. Horne Jr., encouraged the university community to take time “to celebrate and commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”
“It would be difficult to think of a man who has changed our country more for the good in my lifetime than Dr. King,” President Horne noted. “I was 14 years old when his life was tragically ended. No military power could change and sustain change in a country the way this gifted preacher of equality who led with non-violent methods has over these last 40 years.”
During the Noonday service, Kyle Jones challenged students, faculty and staff to remember that “Dr. King’s message really was about love and service.”
Jones, associate pastor of Great Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, also serves as the student relations coordinator for Ouachita’s TRIO program which helps students overcome class, social, academic and cultural barriers to higher education.
Urging individuals to beware of today’s “bling, bling culture,” Jones asked, “What is truly more important – dollars or duty?
“It cannot be all about the money,” he insisted. “We have to realize that duty is more important than dollars.”
Emphasizing that Dr. King’s “work was done from the heart,” Jones said, “Love for other people and a desire to make a difference led Dr. King to sacrifice family time, personal goals and, ultimately, his life.”
Dr. King’s life and message were grounded in “Jesus’ message of love,” Jones added. Urging listeners to follow Dr. King’s example of love and service, he concluded, “Love is the only way to bring people to Christ. Love is the key and love is our great duty.”
Ian Cosh, Ouachita’s assistant to the president for community development, said university officials seek to highlight Dr. King’s life and ministry “to inspire students to some of the ideals of fairness and inclusiveness toward others.”
He said Ouachita’s annual Noonday and chapel events honoring Dr. King’s legacy provide an opportunity “to focus on the unity and the common causes that we all share in the ideas Dr. King exemplified.”
Affirming the opportunity to “celebrate the unity in our diversity,” Cosh said such principles as “a life of service to others and serving the common good are virtues we would want to highlight.”
Shepherd, who will speak in the 10 a.m. chapel service on Feb. 3, emphasized that Dr. King “was very prolific in his comments about love.”
“I think we have to remind people that here was a great American who made many sacrifices — personal, financial, physical — and then he made the ultimate sacrifice in order to make life better for all Americans. I hope younger Americans will see that here is a person who had a dream for a better America for all Americans.”