Chapel – April 1, 2014

The peace of Christ be with you!

Today in chapel we had a great crowd on a very warm and beautiful spring day. After a brief welcome from me we began with a beautiful and sincere opening prayer from elder Exie Hawes. Part of her prayer went something like this: ‘Thank you Lord for our home. It’s a wonderful home. It’s taken me some time to get used to it but I’m very thankful for such a wonderful place to live.’

Our accompanist and worship leader David Hunt played a beautiful prelude to begin our worship time and afterwards I led the congregation in this call to worship based on the 23rd psalm.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. 

As our first hymn in chapel we sang “Holy, Holy, Holy,” written by Reginald Heber. It’s based on the ancient Nicene Creed and is designed to praise the Triune God. The tune, composed by John B. Dykes for Heber’s text, is also titled NICAEA in recognition of Heber’s text. The words evoke a sense of awe at the majesty of God, and call on all of creation – humans, saints and angels, and all living things – to praise the Godhead three-in-one.

Our new testament lesson, Ephesians 5:8-14, was read by elder Louise Kurfiss and was followed by our singing of “Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness.” This song is a perfect match for our theme for the day of the blind receiving sight.

(Verse 1)
Praise the One who break the darkness
With a liberating light;
Praise the One who frees the pris’ners
Turning blindness into sight.
Praise the One who preached the Gospel,
Healing ev’ry dread disease,
Calming storms, and feeding thousands
With the very Bread of peace.

Our time of prayer was spent praying for our families and friends. We prayed especially for the family of Peggy Kessinger, one of our wonderful stakeholders, who lost her husband, one of our residents, this past week. We also prayed for Dolly and her brother Roy Jackson, knowing that Roy may not be with us much longer. There were other prayer requests for strength and health and for ‘everybody in here’ and ‘everybody out there,’ as one elder put it!

Before my homily we sang one of my favorite hymns, “Open My Eyes That I Might See.” Again, another song that ‘illuminated’ our theme for the day.

My sermon was titled “Open Your Eyes” and our scripture was the entire 9th chapter of the gospel of John. This passage details the story of the man born blind.

  • “As in many of Jesus’ stories and teachings he’s turning what the world thinks is right upside-down – which is really right-side-up.”
  • “The light of the world is in our midst, and we need not shut our eyes. In fact, the best thing to do is to open our eyes, wide.”
  • “We will not be blinded by the light.”
  • “We will be saved by it.”

We had another opportunity during this chapel service to come to the Lord’s Table by receiving communion. It was at the first chapel service that I held on February 4th that we last had communion together so it was time for us to dine! I was so pleased to be able to serve a lot more elders this time, namely because we had a bigger crowd but also because everyone was more acquainted with me and the fact that we’ll have the Lord’s Supper more regularly.

After everyone was served I delivered this charge and blessing based on Ephesians 5.

Arise! Shine!
for the light of Christ is upon you.
Go into the world
bearing the fruit of Christ’s light
so that all might see
what is good and right and true;
and live as children of the light
to the glory of God.

May the love of God pursue you,
the light of Christ enfold you,
and the Holy Spirit keep you;
as you dwell in the house of the Lord
your whole life long.

We closed our chapel service with our departing hymn, “May the Lord, Mighty Lord” a recording of our singing is right here:

May the Lord, mighty Lord,
bless and keep you forever.
Grant you peace, perfect peace,
courage in every endeavor.
Lift your eyes and see His face,
know His grace forever.
May the Lord, Mighty Lord,
bless and keep you forever.

As always I’m very grateful for the talents and volunteer service of David Hunt. It would be difficult to make our chapel services as meaningful without the musical talent he brings.

Chaplain Derek