Sunday, February 12, 2012
Moody Women (by Judy)
Did I get your attention with that title? However, no reflections on menopause. This week I went on a pilgrimage – one I take every year to the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. This venerable institution sits on a pricey piece of real estate on LaSalle in Chicago – the heart of the Gold Coast. However, it predates those wealthy landowners hoping for a glimpse of Lake Michigan who purchase surrounding properties. It was established by portly and passionate evangelist Dwight Moody in the 1880s. His heart for the city and the world established a presence which has sent waves of young people, generations of missionaries, pastors, preachers, teachers, musicians, authors, broadcasters and even pilots into the world, offering hope for revival in the name of Christ.
I never stop feeling a sense of reverence as I first step foot on the campus – the feeling that I am on holy ground. The students look like those on any campus in the United States, though perhaps a bit more clean-cut, and clear-eyed. However, they have chosen a unique educational focus, for ministry intent of some kind is a prerequisite of admission. For five days every February they welcome visitors – pilgrims – from around the world to join them as we sit together under the best Christian teaching available and worship together, singing a blend of the old music of the faith, and the latest in melodic biblical hymnody.
Every message – two in the morning and two in the afternoon on the Moody campus, and a rousing evening revival at the Moody Church – is delivered with clarity, to instruct and inspire. This year, among many lessons, I learned from Ravi Zacharias that surprisingly, Truth is not enough. There is a second need if we are to have impact – relevance. From Eric Moore, I was reminded that we focus so much on a busy life that we forget simply to be. He said we become human “doings,” instead of human beings. From David Papillion, a current student and powerful evangelist of the future, I learned about Jephthah in the Old Testament, who was confident in his own abilities to the point that he didn’t trust his faithful God, and in the end, suffered the terrible personal loss of his beloved daughter.
There were other wonderful moments, too many to tell – as well as the brief foreknowledge of what heaven is like in the singing together with other pilgrims and students, this year from the vantage point of the front row of the balcony. But I would be remiss if I didn’t also share the delightful human joys of sharing the trip with Carolyn, my boon companion, as we delighted in the comfort of the Hotel Indigo, which offers their rooms to Moody pilgrims for a paltry $89, when they generally run $250 and up; the special 3rd Coast, three buildings away, which is part diner, part neighborhood bar, and all welcoming, nurturing and delicious, whether breakfast, lunch, dinner or a bedtime cab after a shivery, snowy walk back from the Church along Chicago streets.
The blessing of attending Founder’s Week at the Moody Bible Institute never grows old – and neither does the challenge to take such a time into the year, not simply being fed, but feeding others – offering God’s love as students have been doing for generations on the Chicago streets and in far-flung corners of the world. What a privilege, what a call.