The theme for this year’s chapels is, in a word, “With.”
It’s a word that is everywhere in Scripture because it is everywhere in life. As embodied creatures in a world of bodies, we are connected to them all necessarily. As image-bearers of a relational God, we are made for relationships supremely. In the great story of Scripture, God, who is always present with us, calls us to be present to Him through his Son, “God with us,” and His Spirit, God in us. At the end of his ministry on earth, Jesus tells his disciples that it is not the end of life with Him: “I am with you always” (Mt. 28:20).
Scripture makes it clear that our lives, too are to be characterized by a with-ness. Our union with God and our lives with one another are to be cultivated and celebrated, not merely assumed or tolerated. In Jesus’ high priestly prayer, God’s with-ness is glorious, and our with-ness with others how we glorify God. “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one” (Jn. 17:22).
The scriptures everywhere instruct, narrate, and imagine for us the ways of with-ness: in strength and weakness, in need and generosity, in confession and correction, in danger and peace, in conflict and divergence, in communities and families, in churches and in government, in creation and in creating, in work and in rest, across boundaries and within boundaries, through both kindness and firmness, in pain and in contentment, and among those who hallow God and among those who do not.
This year in chapels we will search the Scriptures, listening for God to teach us the many ways to be with Him and with one another, and so glorify the God who is Immanuel, God with us. We invite you to walk with us, in both word and deed, from wherever you are and with whomever is near.