Homecoming is a time for us to look back on the history of Gordon College and celebrate the ongoing, ever-broadening community of alumni going out into the world and doing remarkable things with their Gordon education. One of these alumni, communication arts graduate Thomas Lake ’01, arrived on campus a few days before this weekend’s festivities to speak in chapel Wednesday morning.
Thomas’ path from Gordon has taken him to impressive heights as a journalist, rising through the ranks from a freelance reporter making $40 per story for the local Salem paper to become a senior writer at Sports Illustrated. Along the way, his pieces of narrative journalism have won awards and national recognition. Such accolades are well-deserved: Lake cites inspirations as varied as John Steinbeck and the book of Ecclesiastes, and upon reading his work, one can immediately catch that conversational wisdom of the former and the lyrical ebb and flow of the latter.
That wisdom and flow were present this morning as well. Lake wove his own story into the stories behind some of his most well-known published pieces, hearkening back to the biblical narrative throughout. Though his pieces are typically concerned with athletics, the common thread to Lake’s work runs far deeper. He found in many of his pieces, as in his personal narrative, a series of “real-life echoes of the story of Jesus Christ.” Thomas was telling stories of people who sacrificed themselves in ways big and small for the good of those around them, just as in his life those around him sacrificed for his sake, and he was strengthened and encouraged as a result of those sacrifices.
As the hour came to a close, Lake turned to the familiar story of Gideon—who, after his doubts were squashed, went on to win an important and unlikely victory for the Israelites. As he explained at his message’s end, “We’re all like Gideon sometimes.” We all need a sign of God’s providence and goodness from time to time. “But ask yourselves,” he went on, “Do I know someone who needs a sign even more than I do? How can I be their sign?” How can we continue to reverberate the story of Christ into the lives of those around us?
Photo: Thomas Lake ’01 speaks at chapel on Wednesday morning.