Nov 13, 2015

A Tale of Two Chapels

By a Contributor

This morning I had the opportunity to attend chapel services at an elementary school and a seminary.

At one, worshipers were greeted with a high-pitched, smiley "Welcome to Worship!" and handed three Lego building blocks. At the other, they turned their bodies to face an artful depiction of Christ on the cross while joining their voices to the hearty singing of "For All the Saints."

At one, we laughed at the pastor's jokes about the pain of stepping on toys in the dark. At the other, the pastor empathized with the pain we feel in the darkness that seeps into our everyday lives because of our sin and the sin of others.

At one, the pastor warned us not to exclude those around us who may not yet feel like interlocking blocks, connected to the community. At the other, we were reminded that in Baptism we are joined together with all the saints and angels around the throne of God.

At one, the assembly fumbled awkwardly to sing their grandfathers' hymns with modern rhythms and instrumentation that theoretically speak to this present generation. At the other, melodies and texts spanning nearly a millennium were boldly sung by all generations.

At one, an emotional bond of unity was created by singing "How great Thou art!" no less than twenty-five times. At the other, the words of the first article of the Apostles' Creed and meaning were spoken together as has been done in Christian communities for centuries.

At one, the central thesis of the day was community. At the other, it was Christ.

It would be logical to conclude that the Lego chapel happened at the elementary school. It would, however, be incorrect. For the toys, the jokes, the object lessons, and the repetitive singing weren’t aimed at children, but at a seminary’s* theologians.

I praise God's mercy for bringing me to a church body and allowing my children to attend an elementary school that is focused on Christ and filled with pastors and teachers who diagnose the pain, sin, and shame in our lives as they treat each child of Christ with the real salve of the Gospel.

We'll play with Legos after school.

* Lest there be any confusion, the seminary chapel service described in this post occurred at an institution that is not affiliated with the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.


This contributor is a wife and mother of five who works as a Lutheran church musician.

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