Hope’s Chapel is unlike anything I have ever seen. It is not required for students to attend, but it is often filled with so many students and faculty that we have to sit and stand in the aisles because no seats are left. There are three 20-minute chapel services throughout the weekdays, and a 75-ish minute service on Sunday nights called The Gathering.
The building itself is beautiful, especially on sunny days when the light comes streaming through the stained-glass windows and illuminates students’ faces with even more joy than usual. The people who fill its four weekly services are a broad range of students who cross majors, activities, and social and spiritual “categories.” Those who have called themselves Christians for their entire lives as well as those who are trying to figure out what faith is all about are welcomed to the services and can find something there to help them grow or learn or be at peace.
The music ranges from familiar old hymns to the most contemporary of worship songs and even songs written by Hope students. The songs always seem to hit me exactly where I need them. It’s so great to have a break in so many days of my week that allows me to refocus why I am here and what my life is really about, and singing is one of my favorite ways to do that.
The talks come from chaplains, community pastors, and senior witnesses who give testimonies of what God has done in their lives. I love listening to the broad range of topics and viewpoints. Some are very biblically based, as each year we go through a book of the Bible in Chapel and The Gathering (this year is Acts), while speakers tell stories that teach us lessons about God while also incorporating Scripture. I love the way Chapel ministers to each of us in different ways and gives us an opportunity to grow together as we hear from people that we see around campus every day.
Today in Chapel, a senior witness spoke. She quoted the Heidelberg Catechism, and one line of it really made me think: “…all things must be subservient to my salvation.” I really needed to hear that today, and things in Chapel always seem to do that. Chapel points me back to God when things get busy and chaotic. The Chapel and Gathering services that we have at Hope are such gifts to us as students, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to worship with my peers as the body of Christ.
“For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
— Psalm 30:5