What singular teaching tool could perfectly teach to a group of individuals, regardless of age, grade level, development or maturity? Why, the Bible, of course, with the help of the Holy Spirit. We see this at "chapel" every Friday at Cornerstone and it is a wonderful sight to behold.
From the wide-eyed four year old girl, to the maturing fifth grade young man, individual souls are led by the Holy Spirit with perfect precision to an understanding of the basic Bible doctrine. They each gain heart and head knowledge of what Christ has done for them and how God loves them. We are so thankful for the Holy Spirit. It's amazing to watch the children worship and, well, a bit entertaining. Children are so honest. Their "filters" have not kicked in yet, and thank goodness for that.
Cornerstone is a simple place. Don't let that fool you. There's so much inside our school. One look at our forty year-old brick building and you might think you've seen all you need to know about Cornerstone. You'd be wrong. The same is true for our Friday chapels.
The word "chapel" is deceptively simple yet powerfully executed. Let us observe a typical chapel at CCS. In the place of golden oak pews are metal folding chairs. The pulpit is simply the east end of the Charlie Smith Multipurpose Room where, flanked by the U.S. and Christian flag, the principal, Miss Sherilyn Grant, commands the attention of her congregation of little people. In the place of a robed choir of perfectly balanced baritones, tenors and sopranos, imagine if you will, a collage of squirming, fidgeting and slouching singers ranging in age from three to ten. They are clad in sparkling Disney princess shoes, light-up Spiderman sneakers, Hello Kitty fashions, and Angry Bird t-shirts.
They come from different backgrounds, different church experiences and different families, as we all do. What unites them is the joy of fellowship and worship of Jesus Christ. Chapel begins, with a prayer and pledges. Remember when the Pledge of Allegiance was said in school? Some of you perhaps even said the Lord's Prayer. Sadly, in the secular world today, so much of our history, language and Christian culture has been lost or forgotten. Proudly, Cornerstone remembers and values these American and Christian traditions. The students are not just "entertained" or kept busy with fun songs and a bland message of "being good". No, no! Not at CCS. Cornerstone students say three pledges: the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America, to the Christian flag, and to the Bible.
First, the Pledge of Allegiance to the US flag is said followed by singing "America, My Country, 'Tis of Thee." Then, Christian flag pledge is as follows,
"I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag and to the Savior for whose Kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen, and coming again with life and liberty to all who believe."
The congregation appropriately remains standing to sing the first stanza in "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus, " by George Duffield Jr., 1858;
Stand up, stand up for Jesus! ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss;
From vict'ry unto vict'ry, His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.
The last pledge is to the Bible, and it states,
"I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God's Holy Word, I will make it a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path and will hide its words in my heart that I might not sin against God."
Then from the little voices comes the first stanza of "Holy Bible, Book Divine," by John Burton Sr., 1803;
Holy Bible, book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine;
Mine to tell me whence I came;
Mine to teach me what I am;
All that and they've just begun. Next are the recitation of memory verses. They learn, memorize and recite scripture in front of the whole school every week. One by one, each teacher turns stern eyes to her pupils as they stand in unison, but it quickly dissolves to a relaxed grin as they triumphantly recite scripture and verse.
Then the fun begins. We have reverence as well as fun at chapel. Chapel songs are a favorite. These are children, after all. The students love the lively songs like, "Children of the Lord". Each stanza has hand gestures with the lyrics like,
The Lord told Noah to build him an Arky arky (hands gesture a hammer and nail)
The Lord told Noah to build him an arky arky
Build it out of gopher barky, barky
Children of the Lord
The animals they came in,
They came in by twosie, twosies (2 fingers walk along)
The animals they came in,
They came in by twosie, twosies
Elephants and kangaroosie, roosies
Children of the Lord
They also love "Who's the King of the Jungle?"
Who's the king of the jungle? (OO oo!!) (put arms like gorilla)
Who's the king of the sea? (bubble bubble bubble) (fingers pretend to be bubbles going up)
Who's the king of the universe?
And who's the king of me? (point to own chest)
His name is J-E-S-U-S (YES!!) (punch air)
He's the king of me!
He's the king of the universe
The jungle and the sea!
After a sufficient amount of singing, the children receive their Bible lesson. Chapel has a spiritual theme each year. Last year, the children learned about the "Superheroes of the Faith." The children studied in class and at chapel each month focusing on a "superhero" of the Bible. They studied Moses, David, Esther, and Ruth from the Old Testament and Mary, Peter, and Paul from the New Testament, among others.
This year's theme is the Parables of Jesus. Each month, a new parable will be introduced. September is Jesus is the Vine;
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
-John 15:1-8 (verse 5,8)
We are excited about this new theme and God's Holy Word being at the forefront of chapel. We see each day the children bearing much fruit in Jesus. We also encourage families to attend. Whether you are a parent or grandparent needing an encouragement boost or a teacher needing a revitalizing vitamin B-12 shot in the arm, the Bible feeds us all at chapel.
14 ... “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And He took the children in his arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them.
We believe at Cornerstone that God is pleased and delighted at the innocence of Cornerstone students observing chapel. With total reverence and humility to God, we venture to say He is well pleased.