Community is one of the biggest factors that our school, Eastern Nazarene College, holds important. Whether that be in the classroom, chapel, or athletics, the ENC community is what calls the attention of those that visit. The doxology is one of the components that helps foster this strong community.
The word doxology in Greek comes from the word doxa (glory, splendor, grandeur) and logos (word or speaking). The dictionary defines the doxology as an “expression of praise to God, especially a short hymn sung as part of a Christian worship service.” The hymn was published in 1709 by the composer, Thomas Ken. The short hymn, which we sing to end chapel, contains four simple lines:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
The practice of singing the doxology was recently reestablished in ENC’s chapel when Lynne Bollinger became the chaplain in fall of 2017. Bollinger shared that the idea of ending chapel with the doxology came from students in the graduating class of 2018. Those students had started college when Corey MacPherson was chaplain here at ENC and had kept the practice of singing the doxology. However, the tradition was stopped when Montague Williams held the chaplain position during the year of 2016-2017. Throughout that time, students were longing for the flowing words that thanked God and ended chapel. Thus, with no opposition, Bollinger was happy to continue the tradition when she was appointed chaplain. Bollinger said, “Any time that students want to institute a spiritual practice, that builds community, I mean why wouldn’t I want to do that?”
The 2018 Honor’s Chapel showed how important the doxology is too many students and faculty. The chapel had ended 15 minutes late, and after the benediction, students were dismissed for classes. However, as many people started packing up, students in the pulpit began singing the doxology. In a blog titled “Thanks for the reminder,” written by Bollinger about this very chapel, she said, “When we forget the importance of spiritual practices, we need reminders by those around us that these are not just empty rituals. These are moments, one on top of the other on top of the other, which ground us. These faithful repetitions form and shape who we are and who we are becoming.”
The singing of the doxology also occurs in other places around campus. Students have sung it at the end of the Junior and Senior formal, graduation, Late Night, and at the end of athletic games.
“We all have this privilege to attend ENC, and I think the doxology reminds us to thank God for everything we have,” reveals student chaplain Ashley Prax. “Thank him for our friends, for the school. I know, in this transition, we are thankful to now have a new president. It is a reminder to take a step back and to praise God.”