By Sara Foss.
Patrick Henry College
Bill Kellari speaking to students in Monday's chapel
Bill Kellaris, PHC’s assistant vice president for enrollment management, has been attending chapel for over 40 years. That’s because after graduating from his alma mater, Kellaris went on to work in the administration of five additional colleges and universities.
“I’m not a professor or pastor. I’ve just been in chapel. In fact I’ve been in chapel so long that Zachary, the Executive Assistant who schedules chapel speakers, thought I might have something to say.”
Kellaris’ perspective on chapel has changed since he was a student, somewhere “in those extra 39 years.” He now believes it is a, “unique opportunity to reaffirm our individual commitment to Christ, and our collective commitment.”
Chapel allows us to renew our focus and provides reminders of who Jesus is.
Monday’s scripture passage, John 5:1-17, is the miracle that precedes the sermon, according to Kellaris. It tells of the invalid who waited by the pool called Bethesda.
Kellaris compared it to the recently refurbished reflecting pool in the capitol. “This was about 180 degrees from that. This was a public place with a water feature—and it was surrounded by people that were desperately ill.”
Kellaris believes this man was probably representative of the most pitiful case at Bethesda.
“Jesus knew he’d been there a long time, and he said to him, ‘Do you want to get better?’ Now why did he ask that?” And that man was so full of despair, Kellaris pointed out, that he did not even answer the question, just explained why it was impossible. Jesus asked the question to help that man reflect on his situation. He could not get into the pool on his own, but needed another to carry him.
Then Jesus simply said, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”
“Can you imagine the electrifying words coming to you?” Kellaris asked. “’Do the impossible.’ He didn’t say ‘get ready to be healed.’”
Kellaris continued, pointing out that the only response was outrage on the part of the Pharisees.
“Can you imagine a people so focused on the law and their interpretation of the law that they miss the miracle altogether?”
Not only was the invalid unconcerned with the law, he did not go looking for Jesus but went straight to the temple. And there Jesus found him.
In verse 17, the Pharisees still did not get it. “Jesus had to explain things to them so they could get the terms of engagement straight,” Kellaris said.
Jesus’ response was this: “God is at work all the time, and so am I.” Kellaris paraphrased, “When the sun goes down, and when it rises, God is there.”
He concluded, “Jesus needs to be central in this place, not ourselves, not our ailments and our complaints, not the law and our interpretation of it.”