Grounded and Growing in Love

The thunder and lightning gave voice to the night, the little lame child cried aloud in her freight. Hush, little baby, a story I’ll tell of a love that has vanquished the powers of hell. Alleluia, the Great Storm is over, left up your wings and fly.

The rich melody swept over me as a hundred voices raised together in union sang these words. One of the richest musical experiences is singing with a group this size, united with a common goal—to praise and sing the theology that shapes us. This past Wednesday was the fall hymn sing chapel. A favorite of many on campus, it was wonderful to sing with this group of students, faculty, and staff.

Chapel is a voluntary worship experience in the historic Administration Building Chapel on Wednesday mornings. This semester’s worship experiences have already been a rich example of the church community created on campus. We began the year with our series (that will appear from time-to-time throughout the year), “Grounded and Growing in Love”. As Dale Schrag, campus pastor, explained that morning, our campus community represents many different denominations (and no denominations). Yet, despite these differences in faith background, we are all grounded and growing in love. We are all united in our belief in Christ. During the Grounded and Growing in Love chapels we hear reflections from students and staff who are grounded in various faith traditions. Last week we heard the Roman Catholic voice with reflections, the reading of a creed, and a beautiful Concert Choir piece: Ave Maria. What a rich experience for everyone!

On September 7, we were blessed with a reflection from Ruth Tumblin, a survivor of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and a recent Bethel College graduate. She spoke on the topic of “How Shall We Remember?” This emotionally charged service inspired all those who heard her speak. To quote from the Bethel news release by Melanie Zuercher, Ruth left listeners with the following message:

“I ask everyone to appreciate life, the world, the small things, like a flower, your friends. It’s OK to be angry but don’t leave [someone] without telling them you love them – because you walk out the door every day and you just never know if you’ll be back.

“I don’t share my story to scare anyone. I share my story to let people know God is good. Even in such a tragic moment, God’s presence was there. I know this because he sent angels to be with me. I traveled through the valley of death, and God was there.”

These chapel experiences continue to shape who I am as a Christian, and form my beliefs. Most importantly I am so glad to celebrate the diversity of faith on this campus.

For more on Ruth Tumblin’s story: