Christmas Advent HERO

Archives of Devotional Writings from our Pastoral Staff

Here is where you can find many of our past devotional pieces, written over the years by the Chapel’s pastoral staff, for our weekly newsletter. If you’d like to subscribe to the newsletter, please sign up here.

Advent = Hope

It’s no wonder that Advent can be missed; it just doesn’t fit in the way the world tells us to “prepare for Christmas.”

Are We Willing to Cross the Road for One Another?

The challenge with a silo way of life is that we miss out on much of the world that God created and calls us to be a part of.

Come and See

In our searching and in our looking, many of us might pray to God to show us, tell us, make the path clear.

Fear Not!

Over the past few months fear of “the other” and hatred for that which is not like us has continued to brutally take lives.

Feeling at Home

This is Homecoming Week at Valparaiso University, a time that invites the Valpo community to reflect on what makes this place home.

Finding Purpose in the Journey

To “coddiwomple” is to travel purposefully toward an as-yet-unknown destination.

Hopes and Dreams vs Life in the Wilderness

At the start of new experiences there is often a collision of what we had hoped for, what we knew, and the reality that seems to be around us.

In the Midst of Grief, God will Bring Life

Grief and death are hard things for us to engage and sit in.  We much prefer our churches on Easter morning filled with lots of people, lots of great music, and lots of celebration.

Lessons in Fire Building

How can we keep our fire burning, to get us through these long nights and short days? Many of us have the approach that I did, just pile it all on and as tight as possible, and yet burn out always seems to approach.

Let Us Work for Real Wellness in our Communities

We are called to work for a new wellness program in our country and in our communities, a wellness program that truly strives to improve the quality of life for all people.

Living in the Present

Why is it harder for adults to appreciate the present moment and the gift of those who fill it?

On Christian Unity: When We’re Not One Big Happy Church Family

Over the years my thoughts around “unity” have shifted.  I no longer see it as a call for those who are being brought together to be morphed into one thing with no differences.

Reformation Calls for Examination

The first step towards reformation in the face of fear is to begin with listening deeply to one another, especially those who are different from us and those in pain.

Seeing Beauty in Brokenness

What gives us the most strength is when we are honest and vulnerable about our lives, including the cracks.

The Power of Taking a Sabbath

God doesn’t need your sabbath, but you need sabbath and God knew that. Sabbath is a time of rest. You see, when you take sabbath the world keeps spinning. It is a reminder that God is still at work in this world; it isn’t all about you.

To Be Known

Deep down there is a part of each of us that just wants to be seen, heard, and known. That is what can make being a freshman, moving into a new community, or starting a new job so difficult.

We Had Hoped

Faith isn’t about feeling happy and presenting that to the world at all times. Faith is believing in a God that can handle our joy but who can also handle our lament — that we trust God enough to be able to hear our cries, our anger, and our grief and meet us in that place on our journey.

When Joy and Sadness Live Together

Sometimes we try to put a timeline on grief, as if “you have these bereavement days to be sad and then it’s time to pack that away.”

When You Offer Up Your Broken Cup

In my office sits a broken chalice. It’s always interesting when people see it. The most frequent response is, “Oh no, what happened?!” I get to respond with a big smile on my face, “It’s a broken chalice. Isn’t it awesome?!” There is typically a pause and a confused look. I then say something like, “Can I share why?”…

Wilderness Journeys

In the wilderness moments of our lives, we wonder who we are.

Your Valpo Roots Will Help You Grow Into Your Future

This year feels even more complicated as COVID-19 has robbed us from our normal goodbye hugs, celebrations, and milestones as we end an academic year. This is especially true as Valpo sends out our seniors from this place.


Like all good humor, there was an element of truth in his joke.

“Some Lent!”

When we consider all of the deprivations of the recent weeks, it’s hard to imagine a harsher Lenten discipline.

A Point of Privilege

Issues of privilege – who has it, who doesn’t and what to do about it – is a hot topic of conversation among us.

All Will Be Well

The beginning of the school year holds such promise!

Can We Learn to Be Happy?

Happiness, of itself, won’t save you. But attentive development of the skills and attitudes that lead to happiness might make you a better witness to the resurrection that Christ has won for you.

Did Jesus Really Suffer?

Our attempts to fully understand the way the death of Jesus “works” inevitably fail with the limits of human language.

Exiles with Vision

Days of wilderness and exile need not rob us of our vision.

Finding Words for Times like These

We who sit slack jawed, sometimes not even fully believing the news we’re reading, are called again and again to the hope that violence and death will not have the last word.

Forgiving Others — and Ourselves

When your shame threatens to dominate your life, the Chapel offers an opportunity for you to call out and name what burdens you and hear that God’s forgiveness is also for you.

Getting Ahead with Jesus: Humility

Jesus never tells us to do stuff that he isn’t doing himself. He always walks his talk.

Getting Down on Jesus’ Level

When we sink to our lowest point and it seems like we are all alone, we find that Jesus’ reputation is based on being lower than we are.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas — Somehow

Christ comes into a world that is full of frustration and failure.

Holy Week: The Aid Station Late in the Semester

“April is a marathon,” said someone in my hearing just recently. It was an expression of resignation.

How Glad We’ll Be If It’s So: Christmas

We are at the same time hopeful and incredulous. Messengers from another reality have broken into history with news that the power of creation is being made available to us through the life of a homeless infant…

In Praise of Plans B — C — D

“How can I redeem this situation that’s gotten all messed up?”

In Praise of Skeptical Disciples

The track record of skepticism is a great blessing to us who live so far in time from the day of Christ’s resurrection.

In Times of Uncertainty, There Things are Certain

We are blessed in this time to have tools that allow us to make evident our spiritual connection to one another by gathering online.

Is There Such a Thing as being TOO Forgiving?

No one wants to be a doormat, walked on by others and their bad behavior.

It’s a Three-Day Weekend! (Getting ready for Holy Week)

It’s the celebration of the history-making event from which the Chapel gets its name: the resurrection of Jesus on the first Easter.

It’s What’s Happening

The story of the Wise Men (or Magi) who bring gifts to Jesus is both beloved and odd.

Killing Off Our Future Selves

When we stand at the crossroads of major decisions.

Life is a Highway

We’re days away from spring break and while not everyone at Valpo leaves town, a large portion of our community gets on the road, inspiring thoughts of travel all around.

O Lord, You Know I Hate Buttermilk

Lately, some of my conversations have had a common theme, that of dissatisfaction. Folks don’t like how things in their lives are going.

Of Fear and Failure

Success can be a ruthless idol, demanding that we surrender all.

On the Bucket List: Joy in the Mundane

Frequently we tie a strong sense of satisfaction to accomplishing our goals and imagine that accomplishment is at the root of a sense of well-being…


I listened as a group of new students expressed their sense of being overwhelmed by all that was ahead, all that needed to be done. “This is more than I expected,” said one.

Pray and Let God Worry

Does God worry? I don’t think Luther cares if God does or doesn’t. The point is, worry and anxiety aren’t our tasks.

Recovering from an Epic Fail

The feeling in the pit of our stomach won’t be resolved with our good intentions for the future.

Remembering Among the Forgetful

Nineteen photographs are on display around the baptismal font at the Chapel. There’s one photo for each member of the Valparaiso University faculty or staff who has died in this past year.

Signs of Love

The chocolate-filled heart-shaped boxes are everywhere, signs of our affection for the beloved ones in our lives.

Starting Small

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;  and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,  and to walk humbly with your God? — Micah 6:8

Still in the Storm

The way the weather has been in the last days, we might wish that we could get Jesus to stand in our driveway and command the winds to cease…

Taking a Break from the Relentless

It’s easy. We walk over, we sit down and the praying and singing start happening around us. For a few minutes in the middle of the morning, there’s nothing else going on.

Talking Ourselves into It: Encounters with Divine Grace

Do believers have to have everything sorted out before they start talking about their faith?

Thankfulness Leads to Joyfulness

“I just need to make it to next Friday then I’ll be fine.”

The Funny Business of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is funny, isn’t it?

The Greatest of These is Love

What does it mean that God is love?

The Magi: Exemplars of Faith and Learning

When faith and learning intersect.

The Power of Small Conversations

This account of Jesus and a woman who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, reminds me of a story I heard a few years back of the musician Daryl Davis.

The Spiritual Gift of Hindsight

“If I’d known then what I know now…” is our lament when we look back on past actions with regretful awareness. But 20/20 hindsight can also provide us with the lens through which to recognize God’s care for us.

What is Your Base Reality?

Elon Musk, The Matrix, and the rebooting of the world through Jesus.

What to Do after You’ve Found Your Voice: Thoughts on MLK Day

We use our voice (and all of our other assets) in the service of our neighbor.

What to Do on the Day After (the Election)

It’s the day after one of the most talked-about midterm elections in US history. It’s likely that some of the candidates for whom you voted won, while others you selected lost.

What We Know and What We Don’t Know

Things we thought we could count on, the unity of a nation, the stability of the American Empire, our confidence in national or cultural righteousness, all of these are illusions.

When Bad Things Happen

During suicide awareness week, we were encouraged to “Seize the awkward” and use those times of awkward silence to ask a companion who seems down if they are okay.

Year-End Time Management: Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

“Do I spend all of my time preparing for finals and polishing the last papers to a glorious shine or do I leave well enough alone, contenting myself with what is good enough in order to take that time and spend it with the friends from whom I will soon be separated?”

(Your Vocation Here) of People

How does Jesus call you? How can your vocations – the things you know from doing – provide you with a way to describe the rule and reign of God?