Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A Senior's Deepening Understanding of Faith and Healing

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As a double major in biology and classical languages, Jonathan Avendano, T ’21, is deepening his understanding of the connections between faith and healing.

“Everything that I am about is trying to see how our Christian faith, how the values of caring for the poor and needy, how we deal with pain, how we deal with suffering—how all of that plays into the medical profession and how that plays into ministry,” says Avendano, who is involved at the Chapel as a choir member, Dean’s Scholar, and Chapel Scholar.

Jonathan Avendano served as a lector at a Chapel worship service this past fall.

Avendano cites an example of the connections he is making. Through a classical studies course he took his sophomore year, he read Confessions by Augustine of Hippo in its original Latin. He was struck by “how Augustine deals with baptism—how that is a healing force and a healing power.”

“My call is to baptize; my call is to heal both spiritually and physically,” he says.

Originally from Gunter, Texas, Avendano, is a senior intern with the CRU campus ministry and the musical director for the Christian a cappella group Something Borrowed, Something Blue. He also sometimes serves in Chapel worship services as a lector or prayer leader, which he says has increased his appreciation for reverence, liturgy, and choral music in worship.

“I’m really into worship so not being able to gather for worship with people has been really difficult for me,” Avendano says about his experience during the pandemic. “At the same time, you have to be way more intentional. For example, the seniors in CRU all decided to keep doing a Bible study through the summer. We all learned a lot about each other, about studying God’s word, and about seeking him even when it’s difficult.”

For the next academic year, Avendano plans to enroll in Duke Divinity School’s Master of Theological Studies program and participate in the school’s Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative.