Morning prayers on Tuesdays and Thursdays: a tradition that has continued for 41 years!
By Gabriel Hanna Vice Academic Dean.
The foundation of Bethlehem Bible College is the Bible; it is our focus and the purpose upon which the College is built. This value is distinctive and differentiates us from other colleges and universities, as the College is based on a unique major, the study of the Bible, which is the basis of all human sciences. As our involvement in the College helps realize its importance, so our presence in Chapel emphasizes the importance of this time we spend with each other.
If we look around us at other schools and universities, how many places offer a room set apart for prayer and meditating on the Bible and sharing the rich word of God? The answer is none. Such is the high value and quality that we must preserve.
The Chapel is common ground for all students, teachers, administrators and the entire family of the College. The teacher can share what wanders through his or her heart and mind, based on the Bible, about the reality we are living through. Students can use their talents through music, reading, preaching, meditating, and praying for each other. Many students have assured me of their love for Chapel because it gives them the opportunity to pray, meditate, and share. The songs and hymns create a unique atmosphere, a solemn cry to the Lord.
In addition to the classroom, the Chapel helps to raise our level of thinking, as it is also considered an academic platform through which purely contemplative academic articles and posts are shared. It is a gathering for believers and a time of encouragement for one another.
The Chapel includes greetings, prayer, some readings from Psalms, worship, and sharing the word by one of our students, teachers, or guests, followed by some announcements, and a final blessing. Everything that is shared is rich and based on research and study by many speakers, but throughout the diversity, all topics are based on the person of Jesus and the Bible.
The Chapel is an opportunity for the students to overcome the fear and inertia associated with preaching and showing their talents. It is a beautiful gathering with each other – an opportunity to unload the worries of life by praying and drawing closer to God, and an opportunity to see and speak to these men and women of faith who care for one another. The existence of such people in our lives is a blessing and comfort through difficult times.
The Chapel helps us revive the necessity of our commitment to a personal relationship with the Lord, and it is a reminder of the need to strengthen our Christian morals, and the necessity for Christian interaction in the midst of the reality and society in which we live. The Chapel helps us translate our faith and spirituality into practical application in society. There is an ethical gap in society that affects many; however, our presence in the Chapel offers us more knowledge, awareness, morality, understanding, and cognitive maturity. The Chapel helps build students spiritually and morally, and contributes to the intellectual maturity of the students.
Rana Lama, a first-year Biblical Studies student, says, “It is a new atmosphere for prayer, meditation, learning new songs and gaining new information. We hear about topics from teachers and staff, we link them to the material we study, some of which are new, and we learn ways of how to connect them together. Chapel also gives us a new atmosphere to discuss the topics with the teachers or the students. What Christ says summarizes it all: ‘For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.’ God bless your efforts and protect you.”
Our first-year Biblical Studies student, Ursula, says, “Everything is new to me, the songs and the way of gathering within a group makes you feel that you are part of one family, praying with reverence. The topics presented are always renewed, interesting and useful for life experiences. They have a purpose, a message and a content that allow us to hear the voice of God.”