Jan 26, 2023 Print This Article

Dear alumni

Dr. Thomas J. Egger photo

Greetings in the name of Jesus, whose gracious presence among us is the highest gift of God to sinners!

One of best things about serving at Concordia Seminary is the privilege of attending our morning chapel services. Each morning, the sermon draws me along until I find myself saying in my heart, “Thank you, dear Father, for such a Savior, such a love, such a hope, such a purpose.” The Scripture readings call me to slow my thoughts, to set aside the distractions of the day and to receive the life-giving Word of God. The prayers give me opportunity lay my needs, and the needs of my neighbors, before the Living God, who is so able and willing to hear and help. And the presence of those gathered there is such an encouragement to me, as we hear the Gospel and sing the hymns and confess the creed and recite the prayers together. Visitors to our chapel services often express how moving it is for them to hear the future pastors and deaconesses of the church singing together so robustly. It is moving to me as well!

“Centrality of Daily Chapel Worship” is one of twelve focus areas addressed in our Seminary’s new five-year strategic plan. Over these next years, we will be intentionally encouraging consistent chapel attendance to form a habit of prayer and love for God’s Word, as we encourage one another and our students to find mercy, joy and purpose in our Savior Jesus, who comes to us through His Word and Sacraments. We will be optimizing our weekly schedule of classes and meetings to best support our shared chapel life. We will also be considering what physical refurbishments can enhance the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus — upstairs, downstairs and on its exterior — now that it is more than 30 years old.

There is a vital connection between daily chapel and our work in Seminary classrooms. The academic study of theology can be a great blessing for our students and, through them, for the church, but only if pursued in the proper manner and toward the proper end. In chapel, we humbly receive Christ’s gifts and teaching. We sit shoulder to shoulder, as brothers and sisters in Christ. We blend our voices in praise. This humility, fraternity and doxology carries over from daily chapel into all we do at the Seminary.

Near the end of his life, Martin Luther began a lengthy series of classroom lectures on the book of Genesis. As a personal motto of sorts for this undertaking, he chose a passage from Psalm 104:33: “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.” For Luther, seminary teaching and seminary learning were forms of doxology, labors by which to praise God.

Brothers and sisters, as you go about your daily work in Christ’s name, recall this: that you have been created and redeemed in Christ to the praise and glory of God! What a joyous calling! If our Seminary chapel services can be a source of strength and encouragement to you, I invite you to listen in on our live stream, each weekday at 9:35 a.m. CT or at whatever time of day it works for you to click “play.”

Every blessing in Christ,

Dr. Thomas J. Egger