Pastor Goes to Chapel

I debated whether or not to go to worship. I mean, I’m visiting a college campus, and not for my own good. I brought a teen member of my congregation to tour my churches “college of ministry” to see if she might want to be a teacher. I personally think she’d excel as a teacher, especially in a mission setting. These two days “away” from ministry will be well worth it for her. However, it means I’m just sort of hanging around campus. I’m getting some work done on my laptop, but most of my work this week will end up being face-to-face.

So, it was time for chapel. All right. Let’s go.

And as I sit down, I see that it’s one of my favorite professors, Prof. Lange, giving the chapel. Excellent.

The hymn begins. And… oh my.

I close my eyes. The first verse, everyone sings the melody line. And in the chapel, the voices ringing… it’s amazing.

Second verse. Everyone breaks into four-part harmony. To hear such ability employed in praising Jesus is a joy. And I get to sing with them? With my broken voice? I can barely keep up with the melody, and I get to sing with such amazing voices?

And I realize: This is what heaven is like. There, the choir’s voice is perfect. And they are around the Throne of God and praising him day and night in his temple. And… and God invites me to sing with them. He gestures, inviting me to raise my broken voice… only to discover that in heaven, I am one of that amazing choir.

But I need not wait. When I praise here, I praise with saints and angels. My voice is still broken… but I have already received my invitation to the choir. How could I not sing, knowing that? How could I not sing, when surrounded by voices unheard that exceed all voices here on earth, and I get to be with them?

So, already by the end of the hymn, I’m pretty emotional.

And then the professor stands for the devotion. It’s on Elijah fleeing from “his triumph” on Mount Carmel to the utter defeat of wishing he would die.

And the devotion… is on ministerial depression, that kind of depression that falls on ministers who think it’s up to them to make the church, the school, the ministry prosper.

He was talking to me.

Or rather, God timed out my visit here to coincide with this devotion, as he wanted to speak to his son and tell me, “I know you struggle. I know you need this reminder: It’s not up to you. Lay that aside; I have this. I carried you through Gethsemane. I carried you on the cross. You don’t carry your congregation; I do.”

It was a good thing I went to chapel tody while visiting my alma mater. God used his servant to speak to me.

…and he uses me to do the same thing every week? How can that be?

How can God use a broken man like me, a depressed, self-important, silly man like me, to share his overwhelming Word? What kind of God reaches down to give such blessings, to put the Words that break me into my ears and mouth?

And yet he does.

Yes, I am still broken. And yet… and yet, he chooses to love me.

What a message to share!

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