Hearing and Responding to God

Chapel is a time set apart from the hectic nature of daily school life that allows faculty and students to come together for a time of biblical teaching, religious contemplation, and corporate worship. Pastors, community leaders, faculty members, and fellow students are invited to address the community. The student chapel bands also lead the group in singing contemporary worship songs and traditional hymns.

Chapel Recaps

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:1-10

There was an excitement and sound of chatter when the Boston Trinity Academy students and staff gathered together in the Auditorium for the Awards Chapel. Headmaster Frank Guerra welcomed everyone, saying that our latin motto "Via, Veritas, Vita" reflects our desire to be a school that represents and follows Jesus and His will for our lives because Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It also commits to our three-pronged approach embedded into our educational philosophy which is the integration of faith, learning and service. It was a beautiful ceremony to commemorate and honor the BTA scholars who have excelled this year.

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One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” – Matthew 12:28-31

What does it mean to love your neighbor? Students from four of the project groups of the Trinity Institute for Leadership and Social Justice shared their thoughts in last week’s Chapel about practical ways to love one’s neighbors.

Arielle Emery began by speaking about an issue important to Boston voters: affordable housing. Arielle is part of the BTA Green project group, which has become involved with neighbors close to the school who are trying to clean up the green space around them. These residents are also concerned about the repercussions of a proposal for a housing project which, if built, would destroy 14 acres of forest. “These woods are worth preserving,” Arielle said. “The residents shouldn’t have to choose between affordable housing and green space. Listen to others’ requests and do your best to help them on their terms.”

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Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone — while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?  Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it? The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; its features stand out like those of a garment. The wicked are denied their light, and their upraised arm is broken.” –Job 38:1-15

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. –1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Mr. Nick Cerini, BTA Math faculty, presented an intelligent “case for God” to Chapel attendees last Wednesday afternoon. He began by referring to his view of his work and purpose prior to his conversion to Christianity: a way to save the world! He had a limited vantage point; he saw science as the driver of human progress. He believed science improved lives and answered all questions. He did not yet grasp what he came to understand later – his work could not save the world, Jesus had already saved it.

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Each week’s Chapel theme is usually defined by one speaker, grade (such as Junior Chapel) or group (i.e. The Trinity Institute), but perhaps for the first time ever, a Chapel service was dedicated to a course: Humanities 10. BTA Humanities courses bring together the study of Bible, World History, Literature, Art, and Economics. Mihailo Stevanovic explained that this year’s Humanities 10 students pondered the question, “What in the world is God doing?” Their answer: A Kingdom without borders. “God is in the business of bringing a new kingdom into our broken world, a kingdom without borders,” Mihailo said. “No geographic borders. No ethnic borders. No racial borders. No gender borders. No opportunity gap. No class separation.”

Lubert Etienne shared that we can only imagine a kingdom where “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians3:28) He continued, “That Kingdom is both our hope and our responsibility.” He introduced five student speakers who would each briefly address the question, “What in the World is God doing?”

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Mr. Robert H. Bradley, Chairman of the BTA Board of Trustees, loves history. Last Wednesday, he shared his knowledge of a difficult subject: slavery. “Why talk about slavery?” he asked. “It is an evil and horrible institution.” He went on to give his answer to that question, speaking to the students when he said, “We are in a ‘civil war’ of ideas. You should be prepared to know the facts because you will enter into this war when you leave BTA.”

Mr. Bradley assured his audience that everything they would hear during his talk could be fact-checked, and he encouraged all to do so. “The Bible neither affirms nor condemns slavery,” he said. In most cultures, the poor were enslaved when they couldn’t pay their debts. In history, slavery had nothing to do with race; each ethnicity enslaved its own people. Many of the great ancient structures such as the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids were built with slave labor.

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