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 10 items.

  • "A Prayer for Justice and Peace" by Reverend Steve Allen 5/31/20

    God
     
    As we watch horrors before us on our TV screens, 
    As we hear the painful cries of those who are sick and tired of being sick and tired;
    As we see the hurt on the faces of those who are particularly vulnerable;
    As we recognize that we have a need to hear one another; to understand one another better;
    As we see actions and reactions born out of fear;
    As we see examples of humanity at its worst and watch tempers rise;
    As we begin to understand that by ourselves we can accomplish very little but that together we can accomplish much good in this world;
    As we seek to be a community who cares;
     
    God, we pray.
     
    We pray for an understanding heart and a willing spirit.     
    We pray for the courage to do our part and the strength to make a difference whenever possible.  
    We pray for hope when all around us feels hopeless.
    We pray that our eyes and ears might be open to the cries of brothers and sisters who are hurting.
    We pray that love might replace hate and unity might replace discord.
    We pray for comfort in knowing you are a sovereign God trusting that even when all around us seems to be coming apart at the seams that you have the whole world in your hands. 
    We pray that the words of Psalm 23 might remind us; even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we do not need to fear; for you are with us.
     
    All this we lift up as we are separated from one another yet united by the common bond of prayer.
     
    In your name we pray
    Amen 
     
  • Weekly Devotional from Rev. Wade Reck, Middle School Chaplain - 4/4/20

    Lectionary Texts for Sunday, May 10:  Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-4
    John 14:1-6

    Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

    Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you know me, you will know my father also.”
    My mom’s dog Bella died suddenly late Saturday night.   My two boys love to see Bella on Facetime when they call my mom.  Everytime, my 3 year old’s first question as soon as my mom picks up the phone is, “Where’s Bella?”  Before we called my mom today, I had to tell my boys Bella died.  I told them her heart got too old and damaged and stopped, so we couldn’t see her anymore.  However, she was in a better place and not suffering anymore.  

    My 5 year old was quiet.  My 3 year old was angry.  “Bella needs to come back,” he shouted, a sentiment he kept coming back to during the day.  There’s the heart of it:  when we lose someone we love, we just want them back.  

    Though my boys will undoubtedly experience life’s goodness as they age, they will also know greater loss than Bella. They will learn of life’s fragility, unfairness, and brevity.  So too, they will know its uncertainties.  Today, they accepted my explanations for loss without question; however, the questions will come.  If they develop a mature and honest religious faith, they will learn that truth more often involves metaphor and mystery than facts and certainty.  They will know faith’s challenge as well as its richness.

    In this context, our Bible passage from John moves me.  Speaking to his disciples at the beginning of darker days, Jesus says, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.”  Alluding to his death, he says, “I go to my father’s house.  You will be there with me one day.”  
    In the most honest and human of responses, Thomas (my favorite disciple) says, “If we don’t know what lies beyond this life, how will we know the way to you?”  Essentially, he’s asking, “How can we know what you say is true?”
    I like Jesus’s response here.  Jesus doesn’t try to dispel mystery.  He doesn’t remove their doubts. Instead, he tells them how to live with these things.  
    “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” Jesus says. “The path to God is the path I tread.”

    Here, I think Jesus is saying, “Live as I live, and you will know life’s richness; walk as I walk, and you will know God.”
    How did Jesus live?  Jesus grieved deeply when he suffered loss.  He didn’t dismiss tragedy with religious platitudes; he wept (John 11:35).  But he also relished life’s goodness, playing with children (Matthew 19:14), celebrating weddings (John 2), enjoying his friends (Luke 10:21).  He placed faith in a god so personal he called him father and lived his life seeking connection with that god even when such connection seemed gone (Matthew 27:46).  And he opened his heart wide, loving and helping all who crossed his path.  That path led to a cross but beyond that to much more.

    We’d all like to know what exactly lies beyond this life.  Shoot, we’d all just like to know what the next few months will be like.  However, I think Jesus would tell his disciples and us that what happens tomorrow is a far less pressing matter than how we live life today.  If we fill today, as much as we’re able, with honesty, faith, and love, we will have lived it well.
    Have a good week, my friends!
     
     
    Rev. Wade Reck
    Middle School Chaplain
  • Weekly Devotional from Rev. Steve Allen, Head Chaplain - 4/27/20

    Lectionary Readings Acts 2:42-47, Psalm 23, 1 Peter 2:19-25, John 10:1-10
     
         Every once in a while something will happen in life that makes me see a passage in the Bible as never before.  Acts chapter 2 had always seemed to me to be an idyllic picture of faithful people living in community with one another; “they were together and had all things in common… day by day they spent much time together and they broke bread at home and ate their food (together).” Acts 2:44-46

        After these past 6 weeks I read that and find myself wondering; How did these first Christians live together under one roof without killing each other?  Did they have rules for cooking and cleaning?  Did they get angry if someone didn’t put the dishes in the dishwasher?  At what point did the annoying habits of one get under the skin of another?  Where did they go when they needed a break from one another? How did their marriages survive this kind of living situation? And perhaps most importantly, did they have separate rooms for zoom meetings and google hangouts? 

       I’m not sure I’ve ever had a life situation that rattled the picture I had in my mind’s eye of a text more than this.  As they lived together in community they must have struggled as we are struggling. They must’ve gotten on each other’s nerves as we are getting on each other’s nerves.  They must’ve been running low on grace.  They must’ve seen their ability to forgive tested.  They must’ve experienced daily challenges to their ability to display love to loved ones.  And yet the passage doesn’t end by saying; and they strangled one another out of frustration after a few weeks of giving this community living thing a try.   Rather it tells us they did this all “with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.” Act 2:47
        
         How is that possible?  I think the only way people could live together in harmony in close quarters like that and still have glad and generous hearts, is if a couple of really important factors are at work; grace, forgiveness and love.   If you’re running short on any of these- welcome to the club.  I have to believe that they too struggled with these same challenges to living in community.  However, what this text suggests to me is that they were committed to practicing these qualities espoused by Jesus, their mentor and teacher.   It seems to me that the only way we can live in relationship with others is if we approach it as they did; with generous hearts.  That means extending grace to one another even when they’ve gotten on our last nerve.  It means giving people the benefit of the doubt even when they fall short of our expectations. It means forgiveness is at a premium even when someone forgets to empty the dishwasher or interrupts our class.  It means striving to practice love to those we want to throttle even when their annoying habits are proving too much for us to bear.  I believe the only way they could have lived with one another like that is precisely because they worked like heck to overcome life’s challenges with these characteristics of the Christian life; grace, forgiveness and love.

        And the crazy thing about it is that rather than desperately hoping this blasted Christian quarantine would end, people were actually drawn to what they were doing.  The final verse tells us that “day by day the Lord added to their number…”  Apparently, people felt so cared for even in a living situation like this, that they actually increased the numbers in their community.  I couldn’t imagine adding anyone else to my already full house.   

        As we struggle to live in community may we practice grace, forgiveness and love, so that people (even our own family members) might be drawn to what they see in us.  And may God give us generous hearts, drawing us back into a close relationship with those with whom we’re sharing our homes. 
     
     
  • Weekly Devotional from Rev. Jennifer Arnold, Lower School Chaplain - 4/20/20

    This week's lectionary readings are:
     
    Acts 2:14a, 36-41  •  Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19  •  1 Peter 1:17-23  •  Luke 24:13-35
     
    Luke 24:13-35 
    Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad.Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

    As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

     
    I love the story of the road to Emmaus in part because it is full of confusion. Jesus' friends are confused about why Jesus has died, if Jesus has really returned from the grave as the women told them, and who is this seemingly out-of-touch but wise guy walking with them? On that day I'm sure their world felt totally upside down. And so I'm intrigued by their choice to invite this stranger into their home. This wasn't a meticulously planned dinner party with a well prepared menu. I imagine the modern equivalent would be flying home 3 days after a national disaster, striking up a conversation with the guy sitting beside you on a plane, and then inviting him to your house for dinner and to spend the night. Nobody does that right??? It would require a lot of trust in a person you barely know. It would require vulnerability and intimacy. And perhaps most importantly, it would require a giving up of pretenses, a giving up of control - a willingness to let another see you (and your messy home) simply as you are.
     
    So that's strange, but what struck me reading this story today is at least equally as odd - if you think about it from the perspective of Jesus' friends. They invite this strange man into their home and then he, someone who is basically a stranger, breaks and blesses the bread. Usually the host blesses a meal. It's kind of a symbolic way of saying, "this is my space and I am welcoming you into it." To ask a guest - let alone a stranger - to bless your food requires the host to give up some control. What will they say? Like inviting a stranger to your home, allowing them to say the blessing requires vulnerability, trust, and intimacy. Symbolically perhaps, this act is a way of saying "this is our space and all are welcome here."
     
    I am amazed by Jesus' friends' ability to make themselves vulnerable enough to invite a stranger into their lives so intimately. Especially in the midst of chaos and confusion! Perhaps it would have been safer or easier to have ignored this stranger along the road, to have let him continue walking, or to have blessed the bread themselves. Yet, they were willing to give up some control and in doing so opened themselves to the divine. In another time of chaos and confusion and questions, I find myself wondering - what strangers are coming our way right now? Can we make ourselves vulnerable enough to let them in to bless me? Can we let the strangers know us intimately and without pretense? Can we trust that the stranger is in fact divine?
     
     
    (And just cause I can, here's a poem that seems connected. If you want to get on the Poem A Day list, just email me!)
     
    "The Guest House" by Rumi
     
    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
    meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

    Be grateful for whatever comes.
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.
     
    --
    Jennifer Arnold
    Lower School Chaplain
  • Weekly Devotional from Rev. Wade Reck, Middle School Chaplain - 4/13/20

    John 20
    24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas... replied, “I won’t believe (Jesus has risen) unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”   26 Eight days later . . .Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said.   27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”   28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

    . . .

    When my wife was in labor with my first child, we still hadn’t settled on a name.  We had whittled our choices down to two: Cooper and Atticus. But we hadn’t made the final selection.  With the baby on its way, the time for choosing had definitely come.  

    Rightly or wrongly, in that hospital room, in those moments, I remember thinking, “Cooper...Cooper feels like a fun guy’s name, a party guy’s name.   A “Cooper” doesn’t overthink things. A Cooper bursts into the room. A Cooper laughs loudly. A Cooper goes with his gut. A Cooper shakes off regrets.”

    “Atticus feels like a thinking guy’s name, an earnest guy’s name, a serious guy’s name.  Like the character from To Kill a Mockingbird, an Atticus is principled, but an Atticus worries.  Perhaps, people respect an Atticus; however, he’s probably not their favorite at parties.   An Atticus always has to think (and think and think and think) before he acts.”

    In that hospital room, I wanted Cooper, for I’ve long believed I think about things too much.  I process things more than I should. I hold onto regrets a little longer than I could. In that hospital room, I wanted my boy to be different.  I wanted him to be a Cooper.  

    But, then, reality hit:  “Who are you kidding?,” I thought, “He’s got you for a daddy.  He’s going to be an Atticus.”

    I imagine we all have things about ourselves we would change if we could: aspects of our personalities we’d like to alter.  I imagine we all have chapters in our life stories we’d like to rewrite because those chapters shaped us in complicated ways.  It’s tempting to imagine that if we could just transform ourselves, edit out some less than desirable parts, life would be better.

    Pushing against this idea is our text for the day.  As I read the story, I keep thinking about Jesus’s hands.  I keep thinking about his side. I keep thinking about how when God raised Jesus from the dead, God didn’t take away his scars.   After all, if God could raise Jesus from the dead, presumably God could make him good as new as well. Why didn’t he?

    Perhaps, God didn’t because it was those scars that made Jesus who he was.  It was Jesus’s suffering that helped him understand the depths of human suffering in a way he couldn’t have otherwise.  It was that suffering which showed the world the depths of his love for all of us. And it was the scars, signs of that suffering love, that drew Thomas to him then and billions to him since.  A Jesus without the scars is not a better savior but a lesser one.

    The same is true for us, I think.  It’s our wounds that open our hearts, allowing us to empathize more with the suffering of others.  It’s our failures that bring us humility and wisdom, teaching us our limitations that we might not too harshly judge others for their shortcomings.   And, it’s those parts of ourselves that we wouldn’t have chosen that can teach us how to have grace for others; it is in learning to love all that we are that we develop the capacity to embrace all that others are as well.

    As we continue to journey through these strange Coronavirus days together, know you are exactly who you need to be to love your families, encourage your friends, and help us all find meaning and joy together.  Each one of you is important. Each one of you is enough. No one else could do it better, for no one else is you. God made you, exactly as you are, to bless all of us who find our way into your story.

    . . .

    Bonus Henri Nouwen quote from his book Wounded Healer because Henri Nouwen’s worth quoting:

    Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not “How can we hide our wounds?” so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but “How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?” When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.

    Jesus is God’s wounded healer: through his wounds we are healed. Jesus’ suffering and death brought joy and life. His humiliation brought glory; his rejection brought a community of love. As followers of Jesus we can also allow our wounds to bring healing to others.

     
    Rev. Wade Reck
    Middle School Chaplain
  • Weekly Devotional from Rev. Steve Allen, Head Chaplain - 4/6/20

    Lectionary Reading- Luke 24:13-39
     
    I’ve come to realize that this coronavirus lockdown can be summed up in 2 activities for me and for many.  Happy hour and meal time.  This past week I came across 2 articles; one entitled, “Americans are drinking a crazy amount of alcohol during the coronavirus lockdown” and another where the opening line was “You’ve heard about the Freshman 15, avoid the COVID 19”, in reference to the amount of food we’re eating while locked up in our houses all day long.  I can identify with both.  Eating and drinking seems to be the center of our lives. Just the other day we were sitting at breakfast when one of my kids said “What’s for dinner” at which point we all realized our days have been reduced to thinking about, talking about, planning and executing meals.

    Rather than decrying this as a problem I want to suggest that eating and drinking have always been the central activities in the celebration and remembrance of God’s work in the world.   As the Jewish and Christian traditions take center stage this week they will each come together around these 2 activities.  The Jewish celebration of Passover will begin with a Seder meal on Thursday night.  The Seder tells the story of the Israelites fleeing slavery in Egypt by using food and a “little bit” of wine.  Some families take hours as they eat, drink and retell the wonder of God’s work just when it looked like he had forgotten them in the midst of their misery.

    The Christian story does the same on Thursday night with the commemoration of the Last Supper where food and drink are central to celebrating God’s supreme act of involvement in the world.   Rather than warning us to watch our intake of food and drink as some are doing right now, I want to offer a little different perspective.  How about we do exactly what Jesus called us to do with his words in the Last Supper; that with every bite of food we take and every sip of beverage we drink, we remember that even when things seem their bleakest, God has not abandoned us.  In fact, I invite us to be open to seeing God in every meal we have with our families and every virtual happy hour with friends (something we could not have imagined just a month ago). 

    Today’s reading from the book of Luke tells how, following the crucifixion, 2 of Jesus' followers were depressed because Jesus was gone and all hope seemed lost.  Then, Jesus came and walked alongside them but they didn’t recognize him.  It was only when they began to eat and drink that their eyes were opened and they could see clearly that God was indeed alive and in their midst.  This week may we be open to seeing God’s wonder in the world around us not just in churches and synagogues but even as we sit on our back porches during happy hour and around the table with our families.    
     
  • 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 Rev. 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. 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
    • 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


    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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