So far this semester, I’ve seemed to notice a common theme during chapel: community.

During our first chapel, President Corlis McGee spoke about community and how it is “better to go far with others than it is to go fast and be alone.”

In our second chapel, Dr. Montague Williams used the Zacchaeus story to talk about community. Williams highlighted a new perspective by which the story can be understood, and perhaps taught it differently from the way the story has been told in many Sunday schools.

Instead of seeing Zacchaeus for the reviled tax collector as his reputation dictated, Williams pushed the student body to see who Zacchaeus was trying to be.

Not only is this a good lesson for understanding the story of Zacchaeus, it’s also a lesson that we should embrace on this campus.

There are many students who struggle to “reinvent” themselves and feel welcomed after they have done something that didn’t sit well with other members of the community. Other students who are building their faith, and realize that they might not be aligned with beliefs of their group of friends may feel the same way.

Instead of shunning people because we cannot forget about what they have believed or done in the past, we should respect their growth enough to help them to continue to grow as we grow.

“Your purpose must be caught up in hoping for others, building friendships, seeking justice for all of creation. Your purpose must be caught up in the lives of the left out, the forgotten, the alone. You are part of your purpose, but your purpose is not all about you,” Dr. Williams said in his sermon.

As a student body, we should be helping each other to succeed through various acts of service and by being aware of each other’s unique needs and gifts.

Dr. Williams’ sermon was presented at exactly the right time. Sometimes, we need to be reminded as a campus that “no man is an island,” and that we should not simply sit back and watch as the people around us struggle to learn who they are, who they are trying to be, or who they want to be.