At 10:18 A.M. every school day, the Ascension Episcopal students and teachers make their way down to the gym to come together as a school body and have chapel. At 10:45 we are dismissed and, as a popular claim around school, rushed to get to our next class.
I am not here to criticize the length of our designated chapel time, but rather to incite some constructive criticism about the content of our chapel talks.
As a private Episcopal school, we are very blessed to be able to come together as the Body of Christ and spend time expressing our love for The Lord. But is this designated chapel time being used efficiently? Is anyone even listening?
Believe it or not, I would say that the majority of the student body is not listening. These roughly thirty-minute or so chapel talks seem to go in one ear and right out the other. But is this because we are just a room full of teenagers waiting for the next break so we can eat snack and chat with our friends? Or is it because we literally cannot comprehend the content of our chapel talks?
I firmly believe that Father Montgomery has every good intention of reaching out to the students and faculty at this school. But blatantly reciting a two page prayer card, trying to forcefully make the students sing a worship song in a language other than English, and then proceeding with a long and extremely wordy homily is obviously not the way to go. It’s like every day has become a condensed version of Eucharist.
There are so many people at this school who are going through some kind of struggle in their lives, and maybe coming to school everyday is the only time that they can get away from the heartache they face at home or elsewhere. I firmly believe that we are, in fact, wasting that opportunity to reach out to those hurting by the way that our chapel time is run. The truth is that people will not respond to recited prayers and hymns in Latin, so why not approach chapel in a different way?
We should begin to realize how truly valuable this allotted time of the day is and use it to carry out our true purpose as followers of Christ.