This Week – 12/2

This week.

On a recent trip to Camp McDowell I was talking with a guy who was at Camp for the first time.  He mentioned the sign, shortly after you go down DeLong Road, which reads, “Slow Down, it’s the Camp way.’  I confessed I hadn’t noticed the sign before and another friend said he, too, had missed the sign, probably because he’d always been driving too fast.  Life can be like that; too fast as we hurry and stress to get to the next thing, perfectly perform the next item on the list, all to prove that we matter.

I think that’s why so many people go to Camp each summer or whenever they can; the pace of life once we’re there, the people we meet and form friendships with, the stories we create and tell, all make Camp a place that’s so different from our world in the dorm and classroom.  But it doesn’t have to be like that for us; Jesus asks us to imagine a different future for ourselves and others.  It may not involve eating in Eppes Hall every day but those same friendships can be created in the Caf or your room too. Those same stories which define us are a part of what you find around you in the library, not just the lower camp chapel.  The pace of life you feel drives you now is what you create for yourself, and taking time to have a conversation or play is available to you in the Rec hall or campus.

Advent tries to get us to imagine a different future, and Jesus is inviting you to hear, learn, and then respond in the present to make our life and the life of our community different, not perfect yet, but different now.  May this week be a time for you to take what you learn at camp (the importance of friends, of fun, and of sharing) to live today where you are with whom you meet. As God’s people we can begin today to make tomorrow the way the world should be right where we are.

–Thomas

On Campus

This is our last week on campus for this semester!

Tuesdays at BSC
We will be on Campus hanging our in front of the Caf beginning about 9 am. Join us for a Holy Eucharist in Yielding Chapel at 11:45 am, and then for lunch in the Caf after.
Wednesdays at Samford 
We’ll be in the University Center near O’Henry’s around 9 am. Join us for Holy Eucharist at 12 noon in Reid Chapel, and then lunch in the Caf after.
Thursdays at UAB
We’ll be in the Hill Center from 10 am to 3 pm. Come by and have a coffee, or lunch, or for a chat or a prayer, or just to say hello.

At Trinity Commons

Tuesday, 6 pm, is Pasta Night! 
This is our last Pasta Night for the semester. So Join us at Thomas’ house for a special dinner of Baked Ziti. Thomas is doing all the cooking. If you need his address, send him an email or text.

This Sunday – Advent 1

This Sunday

Jesus said to the disciples, “Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
–Matthew 24.42-44

  • When do you feel most isolated?
  • Name one significant and important relationship you have in your life?
  • Does the image of God as a liberator make sense to you?  Why or why not?
  • What would God’s presence look like for you today?

It’s the season of Advent and that means we begin a new year in the church by looking forward, to peek at the end you might say.  It’s not really so much an end as it is our longing for the day when Jesus is with us again, so the isolation we feel today becomes transformed by his presence.  Advent is a new opportunity for you to come hear what Jesus says to us and realize you’re a part of the kingdom we long for that one distant day.  When you’re here Sunday at 6 pm with us that distant day doesn’t look or feel so distant after all.  After the service, we’ll have a delicious dinner thanks to the Rev. Eric Mancil and members from Holy Spirit in Alabaster.

–Thomas

 

This Week – 11/25

This week.

One of the important beliefs for Episcopalians is that what we pray shapes what we believe.  The idea is that by coming together to say the prayers, listen to the stories, sharing in the exchange of the peace, engage in consuming the bread and wine, we become just a little more closely the people we could be.  Transformation isn’t just about doing the ‘right’ things and amending our way of life to please a God we’re afraid of making mad; transformation is about celebration and forgiveness, for ourselves and for others, allowing us to grow as individuals and as a community into a deeper and richer life.  We do what we do in church because we want to be better people, and sometimes we forget what’s important, get distracted, and get self-absorbed.

That’s why participating in church is important, because together in prayer, story, and meal we learn who we are and what we’re capable of being and doing…and doing together.  As you gather this week with friends and family to enjoy a thanksgiving meal, remember that no family is perfect and without its need for healing and forgiveness.  As you gather at Trinity Commons, or your home parish, for worship remember that no place and community is perfect. We’re all in need of transformation which happens when we’re together to celebrate and forgive, and to remember.

May this Thanksgiving week be a time for you to celebrate life with those you love and those who love you, even if it’s imperfectly; and may you find in word and gesture the ability to forgive the wounds all of us possess and sometimes have trouble managing, so that you no longer feel isolated but can be shaped by remembering and participating in life together.

–Thomas

On Campus

Because of the holiday, we will not be on campus this week. Safe travels and happy Thanksgiving!

At Trinity Commons

No Pasta Night this Tuesday
We will not have Pasta Night this Tuesday.

Sunday, December 1, 6 pm 
Join us for worship as we begin the season of Advent. After the service, join us for supper.

Tuesday, December 3, 6 pm
A very special Pasta Night!

Our last Pasta Night of the semester is a special one. We will gather at Thomas’ house, and he will do the cooking. Message Thomas for the address.

This Sunday – Christ the King

This Sunday

One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding Jesus and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
–Luke 23.39-43

  • Have you ever taken a trip to a different country?Did you find the adjustment to a new culture easy or difficult?
  • Do you constantly think about the future?  Do you imagine good things or are you obsessed with what may go wrong?
  • Is your faith in Jesus something which could be described as past tense or present tense?
  • Loneliness and isolation can be understood as the chief human problems of our age; what does Jesus as Messiah have to offer us in our isolation from one another?

Success is difficult to measure; one moment’s success can easily slip from our grasp and look like a catastrophic failure, or that’s our fear.  Jesus the Messiah knows all about moments of success and failure and yet calls us to turn our attention away from such slippery concepts as we find meaning, and purpose, and value.

This Sunday at 6 pm we hope you’ll be with us at Trinity Commons and we hear Jesus invite us into this new way of seeing our lives with God and others.  And we’ll enjoy a delicious dinner after the service thanks to our friends from St. Andrew’s.

–Thomas

 

This Week – 11/18

 

This week.

I’ve so much to do.  Perhaps you’ve found yourself saying that to a friend this week, or recently.  No matter who we are, we find ourselves perpetually short on time with so much to do.  In our gospel reading for this past Sunday (Luke 21.5-19) I hear Jesus asking us, ‘so what if it doesn’t get done?’  He’s talking about the temple, a particular place, a location, where one went in order to be in the presence of God.  Imagine, Jesus rhetorically asks us, if the meaning of our life with God is bigger than one location and if that location, that thing, wasn’t there would your life fall apart?  Imagine, if your worth, success, competence, are bigger than one project, one paper, one test.

Religion, all too often, gets reduced to a set of beliefs that we think we either have or don’t.  And well-intentioned people think those beliefs (all of them, some of them?) are deeply important; without the right beliefs, everything would fall apart.  While I don’t wish to suggest that our beliefs don’t matter, it would be a mistake to define us and our life with God as a set of beliefs any more than it makes sense to reduce the meaning of our lives to one task or assignment.

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Thank you, Perrine Family!
 We had an awesome supper after our worship service yesterday. Thank you for the wonderful food and for hanging out with us!
Join us next Sunday, 11/24, at 6 pm for worship, and supper following!

When Isaiah speaks to the people of Israel, back home after decades of being in exile, they find they can’t quite just pick up where they left off.  Time has moved on, there’s too much that’s changed, and they have to find a way to live and work with the new time they have.  That’s true for all of us who find ourselves burdened with a long list of seemingly crucial things to do.  And yet the question hangs in the air, what if it doesn’t get done?  This is a busy time, but the meaning of your life isn’t defined by what you do, or don’t do; it’s defined by the relationships with God and others that we take the time to nurture.  May this week be an invitation for you to see yourself and others in a way that doesn’t include worrying about time, assignments, and obligations; and may you cultivate joy by time with God and in life together which is faith, hope, and trust.

–Thomas

 

 

On Campus

Tuesdays at BSC
We will be on Campus hanging our in front of the Caf beginning about 9 am. Join us for a Holy Eucharist in Yielding Chapel at 11:45 am, and then for lunch in the Caf after.
Wednesdays at Samford 
Thomas will be out of town this week, and will not be in the student center. But join us for Holy Eucharist at 12 noon in Reid Chapel, and then lunch in the Caf after.
Thursdays at UAB
Thomas and Kelley will be out of town, so we will not be in the Hill Center. Come see us on Sunday!

At Trinity Commons

Tuesday, 6 pm, is Pasta Night! 
Join us for an evening of cooking, eating, and hanging out. We will provide the recipe and ingredients. Just bring yourself (and a friend). This week’s pasta is Pasta with Sausage and Cream.

This Sunday – Pentecost 23

This Sunday

They asked Jesus, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, `I am he!’ and, `The time is near!’ Do not go after them.  “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.”
–Luke 21.7-9

  • Have you ever had trouble saying goodbye or letting go of something important to you? What, if anything, helped you?
  • Are you someone who looks forward to going to new places, meeting new people, and having new experiences, or are you more comfortable with the familiar?
  • Where do you hear God inviting you to overcome the fear you have?
  • Where and in what way is God inviting you into building a new future for yourself and others?

Part of the challenge of college life is finding a place where you can fit it, belong, be yourself, and meet people.  At its best that’s what the church is, a place where anyone can find a community of people to support and who support them.  It’s why community matters so much to us, and why we’re continually on the lookout for a place to go.  We want to connect our lives to something more than just ourselves, and grow into the fullness of who we can be…if we’re just given a chance and a little help.  Jesus gives the woman the healing she needs to fully participate in the community she already has and it’s a community which meets her need to connect with God.

If you’re looking to connect your life with the life God invites you into then I hope to see you tonight at 6pm at Trinity Commons for Eucharist and a free supper after the service.  We hope you’ll make the community a better place by being here too so we can all praise God and stand up straight.

We look forward to seeing you!

–Thomas

 

This Week – 11/11

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This week.

“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; when I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet…then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”
–Herman Melville, Moby Dick

It’s the time of year when we begin to think about endings.  For some of you it’s the end of your first semester, and you’ve just about made it but there’s still so much to do that you can’t bear to think about it.  For others, it’s the end of your college career and you can’t quite believe you’re at this point, but you’re not sure what lies on the other side of the diploma.  Halloween, All Saints, All Souls, point our attention towards endings and we may find ourselves with “a little November in my soul.”

With all these endings it’s tempting to give into fear, uncertainty, and we’re unsure if we can keep going.  Endings, of course, aren’t really endings at all but changes; life goes on in a new direction which requires us to learn new skills or habits.  What Jesus wishes us to know is that God hasn’t abandoned or forgotten us when things, as we’re used to, end or change.  It’s natural for us to want to know how it’s all going to turn out.  But that’s the mystery of life and what appear to be endings happen to take us to new experiences and, if we’re lucky, new insights into ourselves.

Ishmael, in Melville’s novel, wants to get to sea because that’s where he’s comfortable; but it’s also because he’s running from himself.  The comfortable place becomes his undoing.  Whatever is on your mind this week, whatever ending you’re staring at in the distance, life with Jesus isn’t something you have do to alone or perfectly or with the ‘right’ amount of understanding.  May this week be a time for you to embrace the mystery before you and find, in those you love and those you meet, a companion to guide and nurture the best in you, so that you can be the best for someone who needs you as much as you need them.

–Thomas

On Campus

Tuesdays at BSC
We will be on Campus hanging our in front of the Caf beginning about 9 am. Join us for a Holy Eucharist in Yielding Chapel at 11:45 am, and then for lunch in the Caf after.
Wednesdays at Samford 
We’ll be in the University Center near O’Henry’s around 9 am. Join us for Holy Eucharist at 12 noon in Reid Chapel, and then lunch in the Caf after.
Thursdays at UAB
We’ll be in the Hill Center from 10 am to 3 pm. Come by and have a coffee, or lunch, or for a chat or a prayer, or just to say hello.

At Trinity Commons

Tuesday, 6 pm, is Pasta Night! 
Join us for an evening of cooking, eating, and hanging out. We will provide the recipe and ingredients. Just bring yourself (and a friend). This week’s pasta is Pasta with Sausage, Butternut Squash, and Brown Butter Sauce.

This Sunday – Pentecost 22

This Sunday

Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and asked him a question, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.”
–Luke 20.27-33

  • Are you good at asking questions to try and understand what you don’t understand, or are you reluctant to ask the questions you want to?
  • What gives some people authority over others?
  • If you could ask Jesus a question, what would it be?
  • Are there times when faith in God or the doctrines of Christianity don’t make sense?  What do you do with those things which don’t make sense?

We’re getting near the end, not just of the school year but of the church year also. As the leaves fall our attention begins to turn to endings.

Join us at Trinity Commons tonight at 6 pm for our Eucharist and supper, thanks to Joshua Richman, and let’s end strong by being together, asking some questions, sharing some possible answers, and listening to God and one another.  None of us have all the answers, and none of us can do life on our own, nor do we have to.  Come be with us and we’ll begin another week together this Sunday.

–Thomas

 

This Week – 11/4

 

This week.

When I got to seminary and needed to find a church to do my field-placement work I was a little overwhelmed.  There are a lot of churches in New York City, enough to visit a new one pretty much every Sunday.  I chose the Church of the Heavenly Rest, located a few blocks north of the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The church was founded in 1868 by veterans and widows of the Union Army who wanted to remember those Union soldiers who fought in the Civil War and had gone on to their ‘heavenly rest.’

I didn’t choose to do my work there because of that unique history, or because of its location near Museum Mile.  I didn’t choose it because of its art deco style (the current church was dedicated in 1929, only a few weeks before the famous stock market crash).  I chose it because it was full of people, people of all ages, people from many backgrounds, and people who weren’t afraid to come up to me, a visitor they didn’t know, and invite me to join them for breakfast.

The Church isn’t a building, it’s not even just a story about the past, or a place to be seen now; the Church is people who either draw us in or make us want to head for the exit.  No church is perfect and we shouldn’t expect perfection, being a Christian in community is hard work; but we should expect to find a place where people practice joy and hospitality, look to Jesus for hope and guidance, and rely on one another for support and encouragement.  That’s the ultimate story of all the saints we name our churches after, remember in story and song, and strive to imitate.  But whoever the saints of the past were, today is our day and the work of being the hands and feet of Christ today is our work.  May this week be a time for you to find your story enriched by the story of the saints from yesterday which gives you the strength and will to invite, encourage, and participate in the healing of the world today with others looking for that same life.

–Thomas

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Social Media week!
Get ready for lots of pictures and videos as we share what we do with those who follow our work on social media and support our ministry.

On Campus

Tuesdays at BSC
We will be on Campus hanging our in front of the Caf beginning about 9 am. Join us for a Holy Eucharist in Yielding Chapel at 11:45 am, and then for lunch in the Caf after.
Wednesdays at Samford 
We’ll be in the University Center near O’Henry’s around 9 am. Join us for Holy Eucharist at 12 noon in Reid Chapel, and then lunch in the Caf after.
Thursdays at UAB
We’ll be in the Hill Center from 10 am to 3 pm. Come by and have a coffee, or lunch, or for a chat or a prayer, or just to say hello.

At Trinity Commons

Tuesday, 6 pm, is Pasta Night! 
Join us for an evening of cooking, eating, and hanging out. We will provide the recipe and ingredients. Just bring yourself (and a friend). This week’s pasta is White Pesto.

This Sunday – All Saints’

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This Sunday

This Sunday we will celebrate the feast of All Saints’. This is one of the Principal Feasts of the Church and one that can take precedence over regular Sunday readings. All that fancy church talk means that All Saints’ Day is a pretty big deal in The Episcopal Church.

Given the importance of this day in the life of our church, you might expect that we Episcopalians would have a clear understanding of what we mean by “saint.” We use the term to refer to the “whole family of God…bound together in Christ by sacrament, prayer, and praise”; but we also use it to refer to individuals who have been identified as “chosen vessels of [God’s] grace and the lights of the world in their generations.”

Unlike our brothers and sisters in the Roman Catholic church, we do not have a precise process to “make someone a saint.” We only call a very small number of folks “saint,” and that list is in the prayer book and confined to people from the Bible or the early period of the Church. We do have some guidelines on who should be remembered in our calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, some of which are being a real person; being a baptized Christian; and being deserving of remembrance.

One of my favorite “almost saints” is Dorothy Day. She is on track to canonization in the Roman Catholic Church and has a devoted following with The Episcopal Church. I think Day is a particularly relevant saint for the 21st century. She dropped out of college, was a journalist, was an activist for women’s voting rights; she partied and drank; she rejected Christianity; and had a child outside of traditional marriage. But she found her way back to God and to the importance of the Church and brought her activism and gifts to her ministry in the world.

Day is often quoted as saying: “Don’t call me a saint, I don’t want to be dismissed that easily.” I do hope that has the process of making Day a saint, we don’t polish off all those rough edges of her life that are so important to understanding the work she would do in service to Christ. We have a tendency viewing those that we call saints as doing impossible things, and that keeps them at a safe distance from us.

As we celebrate All Saints’ Day, I am glad that The Episcopal Church has left some ambiguity in the definition. I am glad that I can remember and be inspired by the saints that did the impossible, like St. Mary the mother of Jesus or St. Francis of Assisi. But I am also glad that I am able to remember those saints that lived lives that seem more possible, like my grandmother Christine, who taught me to love the prayerbook, my grandfather Charles, who taught me to love history and family, or Dorothy Day, who taught me that being a “saint” is not about perfection but is about being fully human and being fully open to the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Who is a “saint” in your life that you want to remember? Join us this Sunday at 6 pm to celebrate all the saints and stay for supper following the service.

–Kelley