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

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways,”

declares the Lord.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As the rain and the snow

come down from heaven,

and do not return to it

without watering the earth

and making it bud and flourish,

so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater - Isaiah 55:8-10

Two weeks ago, Emilie Hodge Osman ‘13 led Chapel along with her husband Siwar. Emilie spent a number of year working with Syrian refugees in Turkey. 

She stated, “When I first went to Turkey I couldn’t wait to jump into the work there. I had so many ideas and plans for projects I wanted to do–Bible studies, art therapy groups, cooking classes, and more. When I got there I tried right away to start a girls group for the teenagers in the church, but nothing came of it, nobody wanted to do it. A few months later I tried again, this time for a women’s Bible study, but again nobody wanted to join. I was living in a women’s safe house that the church owned at the time, which I thought was the prime opportunity to connect with some refugee women, but as time went on I was finding it incredibly hard to even have conversations with them, let alone connect on a deep level. I started to feel discouraged.”

She would go out many times a week with the ministry team doing home visits to Syrian families, but over and over she’d find herself in a family’s living room listening to stories of unimaginable pain and loss, thinking, “What in the world am I doing here? I have nothing to offer them, no solution to their problems, and barely enough language skills to try to say something comforting.”

She continued, “I felt discouraged and, honestly, useless. This discouragement quickly turned into guilt as I tallied up all the things I wasn’t doing in my head and thought about all the people who were supporting me and thinking I was doing amazing refugee work when in reality I was incredibly lame. I frequently questioned why God had wanted me to come to Turkey if I wasn’t actually doing anything.”

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Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

“Which ones?” he inquired.

Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.'

“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” - Matthew 19:16-26

Last Tuesday, Mr. Philip Dujardin led Spirit Week Chapel. Mr. Dujardin is the husband of faculty member Mrs. Bridget Dujardin, and parent of three current students at BTA: Maeve ‘23, Ailish ‘25, and Claire ‘25. Mr. Dujardin is a theology teacher at Matignon High School and connects students with other community organizations giving them an opportunity to make real change.

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But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. - Luke 6:35-36

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. -1 Peter 3:8-9

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. -1 Peter 4:8

Last Wednesday, Dean of Students, Juan Gonzalez spoke at Chapel on the importance of kindness. Mr. Gonzales started off his address with a challenge. “Today I’m here to challenge you to do two things. To be overly nice and to not think the world is against you. You may think those are two different things but they are very much connected.”

Mr Gonzalez then built upon his main point of being overly nice, “Growing up I tried to follow the rule: do to others as you would want them to do to you. It’s so easy to be mean. And that is why we live in a world where it’s more and more unique to be nice. I thought of the topic for this chapel after so many cases of students not being nice. A culture of meanness is contagious. Being a jerk is a problem that feeds itself - the more mean you are the more you will react that way in the future. The good news is the more you train yourself to love and be nice the easier it gets. Your attitude needs training just like your muscles and heart do. I challenge you for the rest of the year to train your mind to be overly nice.”

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And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things. - Luke 23:26-56

Last Thursday, Boston Trinity Academy held its Holy Week Chapel. Dr. Michael Balboni, the Associate Minister at Park Street church, led the address and spoke on the crucifixion of Jesus and the implications that pivotal moment in history has on all of us.

“When I was young I started to wonder what this crucifixion thing was all about. I didn’t understand it. Why was Christianity centered around it? Here, was this 33-year-old man. He performed miracles. He taught. He lived in such a way that was gentle, loving, and nurturing. It was in many ways a perfect life. And yet he was sentenced to death. By Roman officials, and the crowds of people. Sentenced to die.

Romans had perfected the crucifixion. A way of death that was slow and as excruciating as possible, and on top of that was very public, in order to instill fear. This process started with the scourging by flagellum. The flagellum was a strip of leather and it was embedded with iron and bronze or sharp bone or Iron hooks. The ones with iron hooks are the ones Roman soldiers called the scorpion. Victims were stripped naked and two Roman soldiers would take the flagellum and whip the victim.

Each blow would tear away skin, and muscle and it was a bloody, terribly painful act. We don’t know how many times Jesus was flogged. But I imagine it was a lot, so much so that as a 33-year-old carpenter, Jesus could not carry a 75 lb piece of wood on his back. The soldiers then took a crown of thorns and beat it down on His head with a hammer. They then led Jesus to the site of the crucifixion, they took iron spikes and hammered right through his wrists and overlapping feet and nailed him to that same 75 lb wooden cross. It was designed to be cruel and to punish. He was then left out to die over several days. But, Jesus died in just 6 hours most likely due to the extreme flogging he received. In particular, breathing would have been tough in this state, the body leaning forward head down, it would’ve been hard to exhale. His breathing would have become shallow, and in order to breathe, he would have actually had to lift himself up and push himself off his feet to get a full breath. Each word spoken would have been extremely painful.”

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So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” - John 8:31-38

Last Wednesday's Chapel speaker was none other than Ms. Marie Zhang. Ms. Zhang is in her 6th year at Boston Trinity Academy. Ms. Zhang is a middle school Math teacher, middle school girls' volleyball coach, and advisor for middle school, she is also involved with Lion Hearts. Lion Hearts is a spiritual life club at BTA that meets weekly and is a place for students to hang out, share life, study scripture, and explore how to live their faith daily.

Ms. Zhang began her address with a personal anecdote, “I spent more than two years wearing rubber Croc flats. I thought they were great. They sort of looked like regular flats and were comfortable and waterproof. One of my friends told me they looked bad but I shrugged her comment off because they were really, really quite comfortable. Shortly thereafter, a Grandma at my church told me that my shoes looked like something worn during the Korean War era... The Korean War era comment was too much. I took the hint and bought another pair of flats.”

Ms. Zhang continued, “I’ll be the first to acknowledge that the truth is hard to accept when you’re set in your ways. How do you know the person speaking to you has a better grasp of reality than you do? For more consequential matters than shoes, we thankfully have the Word of God. I believe with greater conviction as I get older in its inerrancy, truth, and power. But don’t just take my word for it.. Read it. Wrestle with it. Ask questions. And see for yourself.” 

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