All-Seminary Chapel Dedicated as a Time of Refreshing

Chapel Director Jenn Graffius encouraged students to be renewed through worship each week

Jennifer Graffius

It's a story told over and over again, Chapel Director Jennifer Graffius said at All-Seminary Chapel on Wednesday, October 9, 2013. Preaching from Exodus, Reverend Graffius went through the story of Moses - the well-known biblical figure who was minding his own business in the desert when he encountered a burning bush, and history of the epic-Hollywood movie type was made.

But though the text in scripture typically describes Moses as boldly declaring "Here I am," in response to the burning bush that was calling his name, the literal translation is something messier, Graffius pointed out.

"That is a cleaned up English version of Moses' response," she said. "The literal translation sounds more like, 'Behold! Me!'"

In saying, "Behold, me," Graffius continued, Moses was referring to himself in his current state, which was a nobody standing on the mountainous wasteland trying to rewrite his life as a shepherd after fleeing Egypt. When God suddenly shows up on the scene, he tells Moses to stop trying to rewrite his own story. There was more to Moses' story than his new life in the desert, and God was going to be the new author, Graffius said.

Yet, Moses resisted. In response to God's call to save his people from slavery in Egypt, Moses questions and doubts that he could do it.

It's then that "God says something of the utmost importance," Graffius said. "God says to Moses 'Here I am.'" Even as Moses was saying "Behold, me," God was asking Moses to behold him-the God of history and the God of the present.

"In a chapel service at Fuller Seminary, I can't help but wonder how many people can relate to this conversation between God and Moses," Graffius continued. "Wrestling with the call, wrestling with ourselves, wondering how it will all work out and if God really knows what God is doing in all of this" in the middle of insecurities and uncertainties, God reaches down and says "Here I am."

Graffius concluded by asking the students, staff, and faculty gathered in the new chapel space to recognize that they, too, have heard God's call. Although there will be wrestling with the call, responding to the call, and living into the call, Graffius urged the community to remember that God has promised to be there.

"So, we will gather together here each week to worship this God who has called us, knowing that worship is our central motivation and the context from which all of our work emerges," Graffius said. "In this space, may we remember for ourselves and remind each other that we are in fact following a living God who does not leave us desolate in the wasteland. May we be refreshed by God's presence during this hour."

Chapel concluded with a dedication prayer for the new space as one of worship and remembrance. All-Seminary Chapel is held every Wednesday of the quarter at 10 a.m. in Payton 101. To see a full schedule of speakers, go here or pick up a paper copy at the Catalyst or Coffee by the Books.

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