Belonging. It’s something we all look for, whether we call it ‘inclusion’ or ‘participation.’ What’s clear is that we desire a place or group to exist and consider ourselves welcome so much so that we can say we belong. It’s inevitable that at least once in our lives we come face to face with a moment that tests our sense of belonging, that confronts us with an illusion, invites a decision, provokes an assessment of whether we can truly say we belong or not. When Pilate confronts Jesus in the palace and mocks him by asking “Am I a Jew?” the great irony of Pilate’s question is that the answer is yes (at least in the way John’s gospel defines the term). As we enter this last week before the season of Advent the church looks to Christ as a reminder of what it means to belong. Just as Jesus sat before the Roman Imperial government which persecuted him, just as Jesus was betrayed by those closest to him, just as Jesus was abandoned by his frightened friends, we proclaim and acknowledge Jesus, the persecuted, the betrayed, the rejected, as the real ruler and source of authority. It’s our own ironic response to Pilate’s question, we prefer the king who listens to those carrying burdens, welcomes those considered unimportant, teaches those who wish to understand, and suffers just as we suffer. Pilate in his effort to keep the things the way they are, calm and secure, cannot see what type of king Jesus is; the church has sometimes misunderstood the kingdom Jesus inaugurated preferring the comfortable status of Pilate’s kingdom, and we get frightened or disinterested or distracted and forget the king whose kingdom includes us. May this week be an opportunity for you to place your hope in the king of kings who sits not in a palace or on a throne but beside you, offering you the belonging you seek and the love you need.
Pasta Night – Tuesday, 11/27 @ 6 pm. Pasta night is back this week with a simple but delicious favorite: Bucatini with Tomato-Butter Sauce. There aren’t many ingredients so Team Salad will do the heavy lifting this week. But don’t let the simplicity fool you, this is an unexpectedly good pasta.
On Campus this Week
Tuesday – BSC
I’ll be hanging out in the front of the Caf around 9am. You’re invited to come join me, share anything that’s on your mind, or just say hey on your way to class. Our short Eucharist will take place in Yeilding Chapel at 11:45 am and I hope you’re able to make it this week. I’ll be in the Caf after the service for lunch, so you’re welcome to join me then too.
Wednesday – Samford
I’ll be hanging around the tables near Einstein’s around 9 am, ready to talk with you and hear all about your week. Then join us in Reid Chapel at Noon for our short Eucharist. This is a chance to join in prayer and worship, and you even get convo credit. I’ll be in the Caf after the service for lunch, so you’re welcome to join me then too.
Thursday – UAB
Come by and see me at the Hill Center. I’ll be hanging out at a table in the dining area near the doors to Univ. Blvd around 10 am. I’m on campus to listen to you, talk about whatever’s on your mind, and share in time and lunch with you. Feel free to come join me to hang out, eat lunch, have coffee, or just stop by on your way.
Hope to see you this week!