Community is a Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS) strength that was in full effect at the recent gathering of students, faculty, staff and administrators for “A Chapel of Hope-filled Lament.” In response to the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Nyack/ATS President, Dr. Michael Scales welcomed more than 180 participants from the campus community to the Zoom meeting for expressions of prayer, petition and passages of Scripture reading.
Remarks by President Scales
Scripture teaches us something that many of us have learned in difficult, but deeper ways in recent week.
There is a season for everything.
Less than ten weeks ago most of us anticipated that spring 2020 would happen much the way it always has. Churches looked ahead to Easter. Families looked forward to the arrival of spring and warmer temperatures. Here at Nyack and ATS most of us looked ahead to a typical spring semester and its activities, culminating with graduation. That’s what spring has always looked like.
Instead we entered a very different season. A season of challenge, and in many, many cases—a season of loss and grief. Each of us has been touched by this disease. Each of us has lost something during this season. Some have lost loved ones. Others have lost plans, hopes and even security. This has been a season of loss.
And with such loss comes grief. It is right for us to grieve—in fact, it is foolish to believe we should somehow endure this season without grief. We are not called to maintain a facade of strength or to appear impervious to the loss we have experienced.
There is a season for everything. A time to cry … a time to grieve … and this is such a time.
However, as we grieve, we will not grieve as if we have no hope. For, as we celebrated this past weekend, “We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”
We believe that we are His people.
We believe that “God’s dwelling place is (indeed) among His people”
We believe He dwells with us and that He is our God.
And we look forward with confidence to a day when “He will wipe every tear from our eyes because there is no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for on that day the old order of things will have passed away.”
But that is a season that is still to come.
I pray that we will look forward—in hope—even during this season of lament.
And I pray we are reminded that as we grieve, we are not alone. We join with one another. And every day we are joined by the One who never leaves nor forsakes us.
May the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort draw near to you and bless you.