Spiritual Life

Lovett welcomes students of many different faiths and backgrounds.

Although not formally affiliated with any specific religious tradition, The Lovett School values and encourages a sense of responsibility to God, respect for diversity, service to others, and moral awareness, and expects its graduates to be men and women of honor and faith.

From the Lovett Chaplains

List of 4 items.

  • Weekly Devotional from Rev. Jennifer Arnold, Lower School Chaplain -3/30/20

      This week's lectionary verses are:

      Isaiah 50:4-9a  • Psalm 31:9-16  • Philippians 2:5-11  •  Matthew 26:14-27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54
       
      Isaiah 50:4-9a
      The Lord God has given me
          the tongue of a teacher,
      that I may know how to sustain
          the weary with a word.
      Morning by morning he wakens—
          wakens my ear
          to listen as those who are taught.
      The Lord God has opened my ear,
          and I was not rebellious,
          I did not turn backward.
      I gave my back to those who struck me,
          and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
      I did not hide my face
          from insult and spitting.

      The Lord God helps me;
          therefore I have not been disgraced;
      therefore I have set my face like flint,
          and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
          he who vindicates me is near.
      Who will contend with me?
          Let us stand up together.
      Who are my adversaries?
          Let them confront me.
      It is the Lord God who helps me;
          who will declare me guilty?
       
      -----------
       
      As I read through the lectionary readings for this coming Sunday I was immediately struck by these words from the prophet Isaiah - "The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught." At first these two sentences seems contradictory - Isaiah is tasked with teaching and speaking words of hope to the weary Israelites. Yet, the primary way the prophet does this is through...listening. "Listening?" we might think. Perhaps we expect a tidy devotional, colorful powerpoint, or engaging lecture instead. Speaking and listening, teaching and learning, are often contrasted as opposites and too often we imagine teachers as those whose primary job is to know and speak all the answers, all the solutions.
       
      But here we are in the middle of a pandemic. Suddenly the roles between speaking and listening, teaching and learning, feel much more jumbled. Parents who were used to listening to their child's progress at parent teacher conferences are suddenly homeschooling (like this LS mom describes). Teachers who had perfected their lessons have been thrown in the deep end of online learning and are relying on Lovett's academic technology experts for help. We want to know how best to wash our hands, clean our homes, and shop for groceries - lessons that would have been laughable just two months ago. Not to mention that grocery store clerks, nurses, and sanitation workers who have become our national models for courage.
       
      In these twisty-turvy times we are being forced to experience Isaiah's ancient twisty-turvy wisdom. The best way to teach, to sustain the weary, to set the example of desperately needed hope - is to first listen deeply. I'm not talking about listening to the news for the most up-to-date virus count. I'm talking about an attentive presence and consciousness. I'm talking about paying close attention and taking up the lifestyle of a listener who has much to learn from this situation.

      - Listen to your surroundings: Taking advantage of the opportunity to be outside (in socially distant ways of course) provides us chances to learn about God's beautiful creation by taking time to be with it. Take the time to look at those vibrant blooming trees up close. Feel the grass on your skin. Find a new favorite park or hike. Where do you feel peace? joy? energy?

      - Listen to others: With more time together, we have new chances to learn more about our family members. Researchers have found that the more someone knows of their family's history, the more resilient they are in the face of challenges. What have you always wanted to know about those you lived with but were too afraid to ask? What stories do you always want to remember? Perhaps it's time for a storycorps interview?

      - Listen to yourself: Being under stress is bound to bring up big emotions. Pay attention to how you are feeling. What are your biggest stress points and why? What are your biggest sources of joy and connection? Although these are hard times, are there ways you can use what you're learning about yourself to better your lifestyle, communication, etc. even after the pandemic ends?

      - Listen to God: Pandemics bring up lots of questions about God, suffering, and human agency. In what moments do you feel closest or furthest from God? What spiritual practices nourish you? What relationships bring you closer to God?
       
      When we practice presence and listen deeply to our surroundings, others, ourself, and God - our souls are nourished and we are better able to live as agents of hope in our weary world. We will teach others not just how to survive a pandemic - wash your hands please! - but also how to thrive and make meaning in the midst of a seemingly impossible situation. These lessons, born of deep listening, are much more enduring and nourishing than the perfect virtual lesson or anything the SAT could test for. What is time teaching you? Where do you need to listen? There is much we can learn.
       
      --
      Jennifer Arnold
      Lower School Chaplain
    • Weekly Devotional from Wade Reck, Middle School Chaplain - 3/23/20

      Lectionary Texts for Sunday, March 22: 1 Samuel 16:1-13, Psalm 23Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-41

      Greetings, friends!  Thanks for reading this week’s devotional!

      Among this week’s lectionary offerings, a small section from the Gospel of John stood out to me:

      As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth.   

      His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”   

      Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.”  (John 9:1-3)

      Reading this passage, I’m reminded of how much we need to feel in control.  We want to believe that if we do “a, b, and c,” then “x, y, and z” are guaranteed to happen. We want to believe that if we are just wise enough, careful enough, hard-working enough, virtuous enough, faithful enough...something enough, then good things are guaranteed to come our way. For that to be true, our world needs to be predictable. Everything needs to have a clear cause, especially those things that feel hard, unfair, or scary.

      In hard times, some find a clear cause in the failures of others.  Why is this happening? It’s his fault, her fault, their fault: that country, that group of leaders, that generation.  If they had just acted differently, this wouldn’t have happened. It’s far more comfortable to focus on judgment and blame of others than to face our fears head-on.

      Enter the disciples of Jesus.  They see a man born blind. That seems unfair.  They want it to make sense. Consequently, they look for someone to blame:  either the man or his parents. One of them must have sinned, they think. This is a consequence of human foolishness. It’s a punishment of God.  Believing this, they can feel in control. If we don’t sin like those folks, they reason, such hardships won’t happen to us.

      Other folks don’t look to the faults of others to explain hardships; they look to the mysterious providence of God.  This is God's doing, a part of some greater plan, they reason. They can rest easy, believing that even if they don’t have control, God does; God will make sure everything works out in the end.

      At first glance, Jesus seems to fall into the God’s plan camp.  “This has happened that the works of God might be revealed in him,” Jesus says.  We might infer that Jesus is saying, “God did this. God made this man blind for some greater purpose. Trust that.”  Maybe Jesus is saying this. 

      Of course, Jesus might be saying something else entirely.  Rather than answering the question, “Why has this happened?”, Jesus might be suggesting a different one.  Jesus might be inviting listeners to consider, “How should we respond to the circumstances of our lives, both the good and the bad? How might this man use his circumstances to serve God?” And, by extension, “How might we use ours to do the same?”

      I’m reminded of a scene from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings:  

      Bemoaning a terrible turn of events in the world, Frodo, the halfling protagonist, says, “I wish it need not have happened in my time.”
       
      “So do I,” said Gadalf, his older, wiser companion, “and so do all who live to see such times.  But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

      Here we are in the midst of the Coronavirus.  Our lives have been thrown into disarray. To varying degrees, we’re afraid.  

      We can focus on causes.  We can focus on trying to make what’s happening make sense.  Or we can focus on the one thing over which we truly have control:  our response to the “time that is given us.” 

      Rather than asking, “Why is this happening?”, each of us might be better served by asking, "How might I accomplish the works of God in these circumstances?”  How might I comfort others? How might I show my family even more patience, affection, and attention? How might I encourage my colleagues?  How might I support my students? On social media, how might I focus on all the blessings still in the world and, thereby, move others to do the same? How might I guide others toward faith, goodness, and trust? What might I say and do to be a light shining in this dark time?”  I can’t imagine time better spent.

      This week, I’ll be praying that we all find a way to shine our light that the loving, life-giving works of God might be accomplished.

      --
      Rev. Wade Reck
      Middle School Chaplain
      The Lovett School
    • Weekly Devotional from Rev. Steve Allen, Head Chaplain - 3/16/20

      Over the past 7 days weve seen the world change in unprecedented ways.  It was just one week ago that we were making lesson plans for what we would teach our students, agendas for meetings we would hold with our colleagues and itineraries for trips we would take with our families.  Then, somewhere around the middle of last week everything changed.  Sports seasons were canceled, travel was restricted, school was suspended.  The coronavirus has altered the way we do everything and theres clear no clear end in sight.  I’ve even heard the A word thrown around of late.  Is this the Apocalypse?  Is this the end, or the beginning of the end? 

      We wouldn’t be the first people in history to wonder if they were witnessing the end.  In fact, interest in the apocalypse is not a modern phenomenon.  The coronavirus only presents us with the latest iteration of something that could bring about the end.  Such thinking has been around for millennia.  The book of Genesis contains an ancient biblical account of an apocalypse in the story of Noah's ark.  Genesis 6-9 tells the well-known story of a flood which covers the earth and threatens the survival of the human race.  However, biblical visions of an apocalypse don't stop there.   A number of the prophetic books also contain visions of impending doom and destruction. And it was no different during Jesus time. In fact, the entire 13th chapter of Mark tells us that Jesus' disciples dabbled in apocalyptic thought as well.  If you take a few minutes to read the chapter, you'll read about the fear they had of wars, famine, earthquakes and destruction.  Apparently, it has been a common practice throughout time for the mind to spin catastrophic scenarios that leave us ungrounded and afraid.  Jesus had a solution.  His words to the disciples called for them to stop living in fear; to stop living full of anxiety and despair. Rather he called them to rediscover a sense of peace and calm, reminding them that in the end God would be victorious over it all, including the viruses and the violence; the dictators and the diseases; the floods and the famines.
       
      Rather than living with dread over what may befall us or praying desperately for an end to the things that bring us pain and suffering we’re called to a sense of calm; a peace and a faithfulness amidst it all.  We’re called to stay strong even when the world around us seems to be coming apart at the seams; and through it all to trust that God will provide, even as the flood waters rise and the evil around us seems to be gaining a foothold.  From the very first apocalypse in Genesis to the book of Revelation what we learn is that in the end, God wins. That he will bring a rainbow out of the rain and victory over the virus.  As we live in these most unsettling of times and the world around us seems to change for the worse with every waking hour, may we do our part to spread peace and calm rather than panic and fear, trusting that we have a God who walks beside us every step of the way.

      Steve Allen
      Upper School Chaplain
    • Weekly Devotional from Rev. Jennifer Arnold, Lower School Chaplain - 3/11/20

      This week's lectionary readings are:
       
       
      Exodus 17:1-7
      From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, "Give us water to drink." Moses said to them, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?" But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?"

      So Moses cried out to the LORD, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me." The LORD said to Moses, "Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink." Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the LORD, saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?"

       
      ----
      During a week like this one - returning from spring break, still adjusting to the time change, and attempting to prepare for the many unknowns of coronavirus spread and virtual learning -  this story from Exodus hit me hard. Things are not going as the people of Israel had expected.  They are panicking and fearful. They argue over the best course of action and their lives feel very moment by moment, day by day. "What will happen today?" they wonder. The community is on the verge of mass hysteria. Sound familiar? In the midst of such chaos the people of Israel worry that God has abandoned them to die. Perhaps you have felt similarly, I know I have. "Why is this happening God?"  "Where are you God during this time of great need?"
       
      What is more interesting to me than the people of Israel's questions or the fears is the overarching story into which these questions fall. A mere 2 chapters before in the book of Exodus the people of Israel were singing and dancing, praising God for God's victory over Egypt and releasing them from the bondage of slavery through the Red Sea. 1 chapter ago the people complained of hunger and God provided miraculous manna and quail in the wilderness. God just keeps showing up for them! And they see it all with their own eyes! 
       
      Yet, how quickly fear can make us forget. As the virus gets closer and closer to home we ask, "Is the Lord among us or not?" As stocks drop we ask, "Is the Lord among us or not? As we try to hastily try to learn virtual learning we ask, "Is the Lord among us or not?" When we have these questions may we remember to look back a chapter or two in our own lives. When has God shown up before? When has God provided? When has God rescued us? Let us interrupt the newscycle of fear and panic with these stories, stories that are easy to forget when we're living day to day. Let us tell these stories of God's presence to each other. May our stories remind each other of what we know is true - God has brought God's people out of harsh bondage! God has provided manna and quail and fresh water for God's people when they wander through the wilderness. And God has never stopped showing up for God's people ever since. Where will God show up today?
       
      Jennifer Arnold
      Lower School Chaplain


    While respecting all religious traditions, chapel at Lovett is an inclusively Christian service. All students and faculty meet once a rotation for the chapel service by division. The chaplains of all three divisions are ministers from various Christian traditions. Though different in age appropriate ways, all three chapel services follow the same basic structure: Every service includes a processional of a cross and torches carried by acolytes, a call to worship, readings from the Old and New Testaments, prayers for the community including the Lord’s Prayer, music, a message, and a benediction. Both Christian and Non-Christian holidays are recognized and celebrated throughout the academic year. Messages are drawn from the readings from the day and often touch upon issues and events arising within and beyond the community. These services provide a distinctive time for school members to come together as a community to reflect on the meaning of the higher values we espouse in our personal and collective lives. All-school chapel services are held three times each year, gathering our Kindergarten through Grade 12 students for fellowship.


    "Lovett's closing All-School Chapel is such a special time. It’s a visual reminder that we’re a K-12 institution, molding the children from youngest to oldest. When you see the seniors recessing out from the service, they don’t just thank their Upper School teachers. They find their Lower and Middle School teachers to hug, too. That’s what Lovett is all about. It’s about creating the whole child, from beginning to end."

    - Lower School Teacher
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