Students in Grammar School and Upper School were treated to separate chapels, tailored to their ages and development. Both services were the same, with the exception of the speakers. They opened with the Scripture reading of the school verse, I Peter 2:9, followed by praise and worship songs, led by the Rhetoric School's student worship band and choral ensemble. Then they read the Apostles Creed, and a were treated to a beautiful performance of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" by the Choral Ensemble.
The Upper School message was delivered by Mr. Zach Weichbrodt, who opened with the question, "Do you feel alone?" He discussed the rise of loneliness in America and the trend that indicates that our youth are the loneliest of all, despite many reassurances in advertising and social media that they are not alone.
Our school verse, 1 Peter 2:9 (above in photo) reminds us that we are not alone if we belong to Christ. In fact we are a part of a chosen race and royal priesthood. He asked them to imagine what the “good life” will look like for them in 20 years, what they'll own, what body they'll have, skills they'll develop, who they'll marry … also imagine what church they will belong to, with whom will they be serving God? We are not intended to be alone, doing our own thing, but sharing life. Our life is for others, not just for ourselves. “Proclaim his excellencies” is not about us talking to ourselves; proclaiming involves others. Thanks be to God! We are not alone!
The chapel service ended with the singing of the Doxology and all of Upper School filtered out of the Celebration Center and Grammar School students filtered in. After the same opening the Upper School enjoyed, their message was delivered by Dr. Matthew Dixon. He started with a contest between pairs of pre-selected 6th grade volunteers to race to complete jigsaw puzzles on a slanted music stand. The slant was a disadvantage but were there other disadvantages? It was discovered that one group had a puzzle that was missing pieces and they also were missing the box with the picture on it. Without a guide, it’s hard to know what to do.
Dr. Dixon shared that when he was a kid, he thought God was a “cosmic killjoy” there to give lots of rules to keep him from having fun. Was the Bible a book full of rules and restrictions designed to make life a bore? He asked, "Did I give the one group the picture of the puzzle to hurt them? To keep them from having fun? No, I gave it to them because it was helpful and beneficial." In the same way, God and His Word are there as a guide, to help us make choices in our lives that benefit us.
So then the question is, does following rules make us more precious to God? Is that a motivation for us to follow rules? No, Dixon reminded Grammar School, "We cannot earn our salvation. In fact, the rules are not about us being more precious to God, but rather about us turning from sin and making GOD more precious to us."
What a blessing to be reminded that we are not alone and that God wants to guide us every day because we are precious to Him!