Year 7-12 Combined Chapel

In the very first Chapel of 2019 the team did a wonderful job leading worship, with Chapel Captain Zoe Maher sharing the following prophetic message to the students:

Have you ever been in a room that is absolutely pitch black? Or maybe you’ve visited one of those caves where you go in and they turn off the lights and it’s so dark you literally can’t see your hand this far away from your face and your eyes are just like searching for some light, any light, to give you a reference point as to where you are? I haven’t visited a cave like that but I have been in a room in the middle of the night when it’s that dark and to be honest, being somewhere with absolutely no light is kinda scary. Like, when we stop and think about it, light is really important. I mean, we’d be dead if there wasn’t any. And I’m sure most of us went through that phase when we were younger of not wanting to walk into a dark room alone because who knows what could have be lurking under that bed. Even now, even if we don’t admit it, when we’re standing in a room that’s pitch black our minds automatically imagine worst case scenario and we can’t help feeling just a little scared before our reason kicks in and tells us to stop be so silly. And I think what makes us feel so scared is the fact that when it’s completely and utterly dark, we don’t have any power.

Darkness strips us of one of our most important senses, sight, and with that we lose our ability to perceive what’s around us. And not knowing what could be centimeters away from your nose is terrifying because when we can’t see something that’s in front of us, we can’t prepare for what we’re about to face, and that leaves us vulnerable. And we as humans naturally don’t like feeling vulnerable because we want to be in control (or at least, I know I do). But as soon as we turn on our torch or flick on the light, that fear of the unknown evaporates because we can see. In the light, we can clearly see every single thing in our way and we don’t have to stumble and trip over unknown objects. Light illuminates what’s surrounding us and reveals what used to be hidden.

This concept of the power of light is so critical to humanity it pops up everywhere, all the time. And if we look at the Bible, light is just as important to God. In fact, I think one of the reasons God created light was to help us understand just a little better who he is and the nature of his being. For example:

  • Light is invisible, yet without light, nothing is visible. So it is with God; we can’t see him, but without him nothing would exist.
  • Light helps us understand the world around us by illuminating what the darkness hides. Psalm 36:9 says “in your light we see light,” describing how we need the Holy Spirit to shed a light (pun intended) on what we read in God’s Word so we can understand.
  • Light is essential to our survival, just like Jesus is essential to our spiritual survival, keeping us on the right track and showing us things in our life that we couldn’t see before. Jesus says about himself in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
  • Just like a lamp illuminates the road in front of us, God’s Word is “a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105).
  • Light is also used as a metaphor for good and truth, and darkness, which is just the absence of light, is used to represent evil. So when we think about God in this sense, who is perfect and holy and pure, we can describe God like John does in 1 John 1:5 - “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” Therefore we, as God’s children, are called to “become children of light” (John 12:36), to become like our Father, perfect, holy and pure.

As I was praying over the holidays about what God wanted as a theme for Chapel this year, there was one verse about light that really stood out to me. 1 Peter 2:9 says “But you are God’s chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” I really believe this verse is God’s Word, an overarching vision for us this year in Chapel. And you may rightly be wondering exactly what this verse means for us, so let’s go through and unpack what God wants us to get out of this verse.

1.    We are called to know who we are in God. We are God’s chosen people, chosen simply because of his great love for us.

2.   We are a royal priesthood. Like the Levite priests under the Old Testament covenant, we have the privilege of direct access to God’s presence. The Levites were the Israelites’ only way to access God, but thanks to Jesus we can now step directly into God’s presence anytime, anywhere.

3.   We are a holy nation. The Israelites were called by God to be holy and serve as an example to all the nations around them who God was. We as Christians are also set apart to show this world who God is through everything we think, say and do.

4.   We are God’s special possession. A special possession is something important to you that you protect and look after. In the same way, God keeps us protected in the shadow of his wing because we are so, so precious to him.

5.   We are called to declare God’s praises because of who we are as God’s people.

6.   We are called out of the darkness into his wonderful light. Not only is living in the light now an option for us, as God’s children it is our calling. It is our destiny and our purpose.

This is what I really believe God wants for us this year in Chapel. As God’s children, precious in his sight and his ambassadors to the rest of the world, we are called to step into the light. And that is God’s vision for Chapel in 2019: Step Into The Light.

Stepping into the light isn’t just something that happens; it’s a choice. We have to make the deliberate decision to take a step of faith out of the darkness and into the light, to step out of the comfort zone and into the faith zone. We have to choose to step towards Jesus, the Light of the World.

This year, God wants to set us free. He wants to help us take that step of faith out of the darkness and draw us into where He has called us to live—a life of faith in his wonderful light. Don’t get me wrong, stepping into the light isn’t easy. Whenever we step out of a dark room into the bright sunlight, our first reaction is to go “ugh it’s so bright!” and for the first few seconds it’s painful to see. It’s exactly the same when we step into the light spiritually speaking. At first, yeah, it will be a bit painful having to address our sins and ugly imperfections. But just like your eyes quickly grow accustomed to a lot of light, we quickly grow accustomed to living in God’s light.

For me personally, stepping into the light means I choose to keep my focus on Jesus because he is the ultimate source of light. I choose to start each day with him. I choose to stay tuned to what He’s saying to me and I choose to be constantly praying for those around me and situations I’m facing throughout each day. I choose to head straight back to him when I stuff up, admit I’m wrong and ask for forgiveness. I choose to obey him. I choose to praise and thank him. All these choices are just little things you can do anytime, anywhere, that are easy to do but also easy not to do.

This year, I really believe God wants to heal us. He wants to resurrect the faith of his people and ignite an uncontainable passion inside of us. God wants to see his people walk confidently in his light, in his freedom, in the faith zone.

He wants to break the chains of depression and anxiety that are holding us back. He wants to breathe life into our souls and revive our spirit. He wants to heal our scars and take away our shame. He wants to carry those burdens of what we have done or what others have done to us because he did not call us to carry that. God sees us sitting here, hurting and consumed by darkness, and his heart breaks for us. The reason he endured so much torturous pain when he died on that cross was because he looked through the years and saw you and me. With every excruciating step as he carried his cross, he was thinking only of us and setting us free from being slaves to sin so we wouldn’t have to live in the darkness.

In 2019, my heart is that Chapel would be a safe space where the God who created the entire universe comes to meet with us. Chapel is God’s time that we set aside even in the business of our schedule to learn more about him, ourselves, and how to step into His light. Chapel is a place where we will be encouraged, but we will also be challenged. It is okay to be a little uncomfortable as long as God is behind that discomfort, because God loves us too much to let us stay the same when he’s got something so much better for us.

I’d like to challenge us all to be willing to follow God this year and step out of our comfort zone. If we are open and obedient to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, God will move. And if you’re not sure where you stand on this whole God thing or you’ve made up your mind Christianity isn’t for you, I’d like to challenge you to give God just one more chance. Let’s come to Chapel open and willing to let God show us who he is. There’s a verse in James that I really love that says “Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time.” God always keeps his promises and every time we come to Chapel, God is here among us, just waiting for us to say a quiet yes.