11/26 – This Week

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!

Last Sunday After Pentecost – Christ the King

Pilate asked Jesus, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

–John18.37

  • Have you found yourself more involved in politics this election year, or is politics something you try to stay away from?
  • What in your life gives you a sense of freedom? Is it in jeopardy?
  • Should Christianity be more about practice and values or more about beliefs and doctrine? Is it possible to separate them?
  • What is the truth that Jesus has come to testify? How would we know it?

It’s the Sunday we know as ‘Christ the King,’ but it’s the Sunday which marks the end of the season after the day of Pentecost. That long season following Pentecost as focused on building us up as a community of faith that hears the story of Jesus and endeavors to follow him here and now. We acknowledge, on this last Sunday, that while we work to build the community of faith we know as the church it’s really Jesus Christ we recognize not just as the center of that community but the one who defines us. If you’re in need of some new definitions come join us at Trinity Commons on Sunday at 6pm and remember what gives our lives purpose and direction. As always we’ll enjoy a delicious free supper thanks to our friends from St. Andrew’s. I hope to see you Sunday at 6pm.

11/19 – This Week

“You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.”

–Joel 2.26

What are you most looking forward to with Thanksgiving? Is it the chance for a break from the routine and school? Is it a time to gather with family you love and visit? Is it the food, all those delicious things you’ve been looking forward to on your plate? In many ways we approach Thanksgiving like we approach everything else in our lives, as a chance to have things for us to enjoy. While that view isn’t wrong it’s not all Thanksgiving is or can be; Thanksgiving asks us to see and understand what we’re given differently, it asks us to see abundance in our lives, it asks us to rejoice in plenty. When we’re tempted to think life is all about getting what we can get before someone else does, or that it’s a competition to achieve, produce, and fear, Thanksgiving reminds us of the generosity of God who gives freely and continually. There’s plenty to go around, there’s enough for everyone, we don’t need to fear running out because it’s in God’s nature to give. The prophet Joel, who we hear this year on Thanksgiving, reminds the people that the time of plague has ended and that God has heard their prayers. All the fears of God’s people, the fear of running out and the fear of ridicule from neighbors is transformed by the God who hears our cries, knows our fears, and in our need provides abundantly. May this week be a time for you to find yourself refreshed, nourished in love, and fed by the God who leads you from the place of fear into the world to rejoice.

NO Pasta Night on Tuesday. We won’t have pasta night this week, but we’ll be back again next Tuesday. Have a safe and joyful Thanksgiving.

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
No Eucharist this week. Happy Thanksgiving. Hope to see you next week.

Thursday – UAB
I will not be at the Hill Center this week. Happy Thanksgiving. Hope to see you next week.

11/12 – This Week

Bishop Kee Sloan will be at Trinity Commons on Sunday for our 6pm service. While that news is exciting, many of us enjoy a chance to visit with Kee, it’s also really important. When I’m often asked, and I’m often asked, what the Episcopal Church is or is about the answer usually centers back to bishops. We are a church of bishops; the bishop is the leader or head of a diocese, around which you and I make up as members of parishes or, in our case, a student center. All of us, from whatever parish church you grew up or got confirmed as a part, gather together under the guidance and direction of a bishop. It’s what makes the church the community it is, what holds us together, whether we live in Birmingham, Montgomery, or Huntsville, is our worship, ritual, and tradition, all of which is guided by a bishop who unites us. This unity is important in an age where institutions are prone to being fractured when our demands to get our way can leave us divisive when it’s easier to walk away from people we disagree with or don’t like. The church, at its best, exists to remind us that we belong to God, not the other way around. We’re not the center of the universe, we’re not even the center of our own world, so when we gather with the bishop we can be reminded that what holds us together in prayer, ritual, and tradition is the one who comes to remind us of a larger connection, a wider circle, an embrace as large as the world. I hope you’ll come this Sunday to join us in prayer, ritual, and tradition; to hear what Bishop Kee has to say to us, and to find yourself in the long story of scripture that points us to realize that we still seek God and God always loves us.

Pasta Night – Tuesday, 11/13 @ 6 pm. On this cold, wet week we’ll enjoy Gnocchi with a Butter and Sage Sauce. It’s the perfect pasta for comfort on a week like this.

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 inside 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.

As we go through this last week before Thanksgiving we hope to see you on campus and at Trinity Commons.

Pentecost 23 – Year B

When Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.”

–Mark 10.47-49

  • If you feel like you know who you are? How do you think other people see you?
  • What’s something you want so much that you’re willing to part with what you already have? What would that be?
  • When you think about Jesus what title would you give to him? Does it adequately reflect how you understand him?
  • Do you understand your faith as ‘insurance,’ something to keep you safe in difficult times or do you understand faith as an offering, something you give that benefits others and makes you cheerful in giving? How might Jesus invite you to think of your faith today?

Bartimaeus asks Jesus to change his identity, and Halloween is a time we like to do that if only for a night. Sometimes we pick costumes that reflect who we’d like to imagine we are or could be, sometimes our costumes reflect a part of ourselves that we have trouble showing others, and sometimes our costumes identify a part of ourselves that we try to hide or manage or ignore. Whatever your Halloween costume is this year I invite you to put it on and come join us Sunday night at 6pm. Every year, at this time, we make our Sunday Eucharist and supper a costume Eucharist and supper (aka Boocharist). It’s a way to acknowledge the delight and joy we take in gathering together, and gathering with Jesus who is all about making things new. What better way than to begin a new week of transformation than being together and sharing in the prayers and in a delicious dinner, no matter who we might think ourselves to be.

Welcome to a new school year

This Sunday, August 26, is our kickoff for a new school year. If you’re a college student in Birmingham and you’re looking for a community of friendly, silly, and genuine people looking to learn more about life together and life with Jesus then come check us out. Our Eucharist is each Sunday at 6pm followed by a free dinner. We hope to see you at Trinity Commons

Boocharist Sunday

The Eucharist is a celebration of God’s love for us, and God’s desire to be with us.  Every year we take the Sunday closest to Halloween and turn it into a time for you to come and celebrate wearing a costume.  Of course, you don’t have to wear a costume to come, but this is a good reminder that what we do is meant to be a joyful celebration rooted in our life together; and we’ll continue that at our 6pm Eucharist (or Boocharist) this Sunday.  Come join us, whether in costume or not, and stay for a delicious supper after the service.  The important thing is for you to join us because the celebration is incomplete without you (and your friends) there.

 

Help My Unbelief-Fall program

For six Thursdays this fall students are invited to join us as we explore belief and unbelief.  Mark 9.17-24 tells the story of an encounter by Jesus with the father who brings his son with a seizure for Jesus to cure.  Jesus tells the father “all things can be done for the one who believes,” to which the father says, “I believe; help my unbelief.”  We all struggle with belief and unbelief, moments where we need healing and moments where we don’t know where to turn.  For these six Thursdays from 4-5pm we’ll invite some people to come in and tell their story of belief and unbelief, healing and searching.  We invite you to join us too whether you come with belief or unbelief.

Sunday Supper is Back!

Students, come join us this Sunday, August 27, for Holy Eucharist at 6pm.  After the service we’ll all enjoy a free supper, thanks to our friends from St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.  We’re excited to welcome back our students and to give a warm welcome to new students.  All students, no matter what, are welcome to join us each week.  We hope to see you to start a new school year with us.