Written by Mrs. Susan Disston
Monday, 28 November 2011 11:22
For fifteen minutes on Monday in the Seminary’s chapel a group of faculty and staff gathers to dwell together in the presence of God. Whoever happens to be on campus comes from desk and chair, lists of things to do, and deadlines. Someone comes prepared with an order of worship. We start with reading a prayer in unison. Then we take turns in antiphonal readings of Scripture, followed by a brief commentary or homily selected from the spectrum of Christian tradition. The chapel is softly lit. We sit in a circle that widens to welcome newcomers and latecomers. We forgo music in favor of an atmosphere of quiet rest. It all concludes with prayer, with a time of greeting and caring for each other, and a quiet exit back to the day’s work.
Norman Wirzba in his new book, Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating (Cambridge University Press: 2011), wrote, “The issue is not whether we will live in a place, but how.” These fifteen minutes on Monday are a way that we at Biblical answer the question: In this place, how do we do our work together? In a culture that makes it possible to “be in a place and not know where we are or how to be there,” as Wirzba put it, we want to be people who know where we are, who we work with, and how to experience the presence of God together.
On a recent Monday we prayed in unison, “Almighty and eternal God, draw our hearts to you, guide our minds to you, and fill our imaginations with you – so that we may be wholly yours and entirely dedicated to you. Amen. On a coming Monday we’ll gather together again and pray a similar prayer in unison. In a quiet way, these fifteen minutes on Monday are formational for how we then go about our work in this place.
Susan Disston is Assistant Dean of Curriculum and Assessment and Adjunct Professor of Theology at Biblical. See also http://www.biblical.edu/index.php/adjunct-faculty-theology