The 2023-24 Chapel Theme
This fall in chapels, we will be journeying through the gospel of John, which is well-known for its metaphors, symbols, and imagery. These poetic elements accentuate the important theology of the gospel, which has meaningful implications for us today. Our theme is taken from John 3:30 - “He must become greater; I must become less.”
It might be easy to say that God is greater, and it might even be cliché in some Christian circles, but what does that actually mean for us today? How is God being greater in the midst of political polarization, racial injustice, and gun violence? What does God being greater look like when we are struggling with anxiety, depression, addiction, loneliness, and/or doubt? How does God must become greater inform our everyday lives in our classrooms, relationships, and career pursuits? In some sense, it’s easy for us to affirm that God is greater in a qualitative or comparative way because he is the most powerful being in the world, but what does it look like for us to yield the space in our hearts and the priorities in our lives to make him greater?
The context of our theme verse provides initial clues. After John the Baptist makes the summative statement in John 3:30, he points to the fact that Jesus “comes from above” and is “above all” (3:31). Jesus “speaks the words of God” (3:34) and his teachings point to the way of “eternal life” (3:36). We turn to the heavenly wisdom of Jesus because we believe that he has a greater way for us.
This is easier said than done. But again, we take Jesus’ words and actions to guide us - “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Jesus never used power, knowledge, or a deep relationship with God to lord it over people; instead, he used those things to serve others sacrificially. This wisdom from above is very different from the power we see around us today, and so we want to learn how to live out this greater way.
And this much is clear: we are called and can “do even greater things” than Jesus because the Spirit is working in and through us (John 14:12). And so it is our prayer that as we walk through the gospel of John this semester, the greater way of Jesus will be preached, convict hearts, and lived out intentionally in the Spirit.