As a part of the campus tour, our freshman guide pointed out the 2200-seat auditorium and said that students attended chapel there on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
And, he added, they get 16 chapel skips per semester. (Not a typo … 16.)
My first thought: “Are you kidding me? These guys are a bunch of wimps!”
At my alma mater—Harding University—we met for chapel every single weekday. And, we only got 10 skips per semester. (Unless, of course—theoretically—someone had a girlfriend who would occasionally sit in his chapel seat. In that case, a person might get a few extra skips.)
But, as I look back now, I can say there was at least one chapel I wouldn’t have wanted to miss …
On that morning, Dr. Jim Henderson from the HU business department was speaking. (Or, wait a minute, it might have been David Tucker. After 25 years, sometimes people blend together in my mind.)
Anyway, after a few introductory comments, Dr. Henderson/Tucker got around to the point of his program—introducing Harding’s Walton scholars. (Walton scholars were a group of international students who came to the university on scholarships funded by Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart.)
And, as Dr. H/T introduced the students, they came out on stage smiling and waving with some special music playing in the background.
And the music was …
(Coming to) “America” by Neil Diamond.
And the students looked so happy … and the song was so corny … that the program crystalized into a moment of pure joy.
On that morning, the Walton scholars were glad and grateful to be at Harding. It showed on their faces.
And I was glad to be there too.