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This Sunday – Pentecost 15

This Sunday

“You cannot serve God and wealth.”

–Luke 16.13

  • Do you ever worry about having friends, money, a future?  What is the source of that worry?
  • Are you a rule follower, or are you always stretching the limits of what’s possible?
  • Do you think you have to earn God’s love or favor?  Do you think God expects you to show ‘success’?
  • What fear, object, attitude, obsession, might God be inviting you to let go of in order to realize you already have what you need?

Jesus gets our attention with a statement like this, but it comes on the heels of a rather complicated parable about being accountable for what’s done, which includes what seems to be some shady dealing.  Life, we know, is complicated and we’re pulled in many different directions toward many different goals.  Sometimes what we want is clear and sometimes our desires are in conflict; but what if the ultimate goal is less about meeting your need than it is connecting you with others and the invitation to move beyond fear.

Join us at Trinity Commons Sunday night at 6pm for Eucharist and supper following the service.  It’s a time to reorient yourself, to serve what brings you life, and to live in community with others who seek the same things you do.

–Thomas

This Week – 9/16

Last week I met a UAB student who was on campus at Samford.  After our initial shock of seeing each other at a place we don’t normally expect to see each other, I asked him how he was doing.  It had been some time since I’d seen him and he replied that he was great because ever since he was saved he has some security in life.  While I’m not sure I would describe my faith as one that brings security, I admire his passion as much as I understand a need we all have to feel secure and at peace.

In this week’s parables, we Jesus tell two stories about people who are so passionate that they drop everything, leave what they’re doing, to go in search of something they realize they lost.  Their life is incomplete until they find it, and they go to great lengths to search for whatever it is: a sheep and a coin.  Finding this lost item, restoring to wholeness, is so important to them you can describe it as a passionate search.

What are you passionate about?  What’s missing in your life right now, and are you searching for it?  A better way to put might be, what drives you, keeps you going, and compels you to invest yourself for the pursuit of something which challenges you, yet also brings you joy in the pursuit of a goal?

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Join with college students from around Alabama for a weekend at wonderful, wonderful Camp McDowell. For more info and to register, visit bit.ly/FallCollegeRetreat2019

Passion is an important thing to have in life; we’re at our best when we can dedicate ourselves to some goal.  May this week provide an opportunity for you to find your passion, to invest yourself to search for wholeness that can only come when we’re willing to acknowledge something we’ve lost or something we need to find. Community, life with others, is all about putting us together so that we all find something we lack in the presence of one another.

–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 Bowties with Artichokes and Peas.

This Sunday – Pentecost 14

 

This Sunday

All the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
–Luke 15:1-2

Some things never change. When this passage of Luke was written, tax collectors weren’t popular, and they still aren’t. So why is Jesus eating with them? And why does it matter to the Pharisees and scribes so much? I think part of the complaint was that Jesus had been a guest at a Pharisee’s table, and now that he is eating with sinners the Pharisees don’t look as important. Or maybe they are worried that people might see them as sinners too. Or maybe they’re grumbling because they want to be at the table too, but can’t bring themselves to join the “wrong” crowd.

Jesus’ response to their grumbling is a curious one. He starts talking about lost sheep and lost coins. He doesn’t give in to the Pharisees and scribes or send them on their way, instead, he tells them stories to show how God seeks community and celebrates it.

Are there times that you have felt excluded? Or times that you found yourself complaining because someone else had a seat at the table?

Join us this Sunday, September 15, at 6 pm, for Holy Eucharist and to hear God’s call to community and joyful celebration.

–Kelley

This Week – 9/9

“Work smarter, not harder.”  Perhaps you’ve been given that advice by someone. Usually, people say it as a way to say ‘don’t work so hard, find an easier way.’  Many of us push ourselves to do more with our waking hours; we add activities to our already crowded schedules and we amp up the pressure on ourselves to do everything which comes our way.  Usually, it’s because there’s a lot we want to do, but Jesus invites us to question what’s really important to our identity: is it work we do to build up ourselves, or work we do to let go of ourselves?

Working smarter, not harder, as Jesus intends isn’t about taking on more and more to prove our competence or ability; it’s about letting go of more and more to find that what we really need, what really gives our life meaning, purpose, and value, isn’t in what we do, it’s in what we share and give away.  If we can learn how to say ‘no’ to the things we think we want then we’ll find we already have what we need, and we’ll find a freedom and peace which comes from ceasing to push ourselves so much or struggle to achieve and accomplish for our own gratification.

Discipleship, following Jesus, is about priorities, and assessing what’s really important can take honesty and courage.  May this week be a time for you to spend some time asking yourself what’s really important in your life, what’s going to keep you going for the long-haul, and what feeds you, not what exhausts you.  And may you find in your answer the awareness that it takes a community of support, friends who share that same journey, who can remind you when the work gets weary and our attention and energy fail.  Whatever comes your way this week, may you hear the call of God who calls all who are heavy laden to rest in God.

–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 spaghetti with Pecorino cheese and black pepper. It promises to be cheesy goodness!

This Sunday – Pentecost 13

This Sunday

Now large crowds were traveling with Jesus; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
–Luke 14.25-27

  • What motivates you more: hope or fear?
  • What does ‘success’ look like for you?
  • Do you feel most like being a disciple of Jesus?  When do you feel most distant as a disciple?
  • Is it hard for you to remember God in your day to day life?

Jesus calls us to follow him, to do what he does: teach, heal, bless, and share.  Sometimes we do that willingly it comes naturally, and sometimes it’s a bit of a struggle, we’re less willing.  Being a disciple isn’t about just believing all the right things or claiming to have a faith that stands out; it’s simply about what we value and what we can offer.  Being a disciple is a lifetime’s work, it’s not something we do, like climb a mountain, and then we can say ‘that’s it; I’ve made it.’  As we journey on our own road with Jesus, to follow, teach, heal, bless, and share, we’re reminded that we do that best when we can let go of what we think protects us.

Come join us Sunday night for Eucharist at 6pm and our supper after the service; take a chance on a new journey for a new week, risk giving a little bit of yourself as you follow into a way of life which leads you with less and less worry, and more and more fulfillment.

–Thomas

This Week – 9/2

Have you had a difficult time finding your way around last week? It was the first week of school and for those of you who’re new to campus, it can be a challenge to find out where you need to be. Maybe the building or room is hard to locate, maybe getting from one building to another in the time you have isn’t easy, perhaps all this freedom to manage yourself, meet friends, and get settled into a new life can be a little overwhelming.

Even for those of us coming back to a familiar campus for a new year, it can still be somewhat challenging to find your way around. Old friends may have graduated or moved to a different school, perhaps we’re now living in a new room or apartment, and then there’s the adjustment to a new schedule and new classes. It’s then we find that what worked before may not necessarily work this time, and we find we need to adapt to the change or get lost. And no one likes feeling lost.

We look to Jesus because we have a hard time finding our way around by ourselves, and we need some help. Change isn’t always easy, there are those who don’t have a natural sense of navigation, and letting go of some old habits and learning something new about ourselves can stretch our limits. Jesus reminds us of what new life looks like, not always easy, not without stretching our understanding of who we are, but it is an invitation for us to find a place, our seat, and we do that best with the help of others. Community is the key to finding our way around; community is all about finding ourselves a part of a group of friends who look to us for support and who we rely on for support also. It takes being open, being willing to ask for help, being able to share what you’ve found along the way or what you think you’re searching for. It doesn’t have to be perfect because none of us do it perfectly, but the good news is that community isn’t about success, it’s about our willingness to engage, share, and learn.

May you find this week to be a time finding your way around the new experiences and new opportunities you’re offered; and may you, with the help of others, find yourself to be a guide as well as a learner.

–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 Bucatini with Amatriciana Sauce (and a vegetarian option will be available).

Sunday, 6 pm, Holy Eucharist & Supper
Join us for worship at 6 pm in the chapel, and stay for supper.

Meet our Fall 2019 Student Leaders!

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Save the date for Fall College Retreat! Sign up information coming soon!

This Sunday – Pentecost 12

downton-abbey-with-cumbria-crystal-6

Jesus said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Luke 14:12-14

I must confess I am looking forward to the Downton Abbey movie that comes out in September. The TV show is one of my favorites to binge watch on Amazon Prime. If you aren’t familiar with the show, it is set in early 20th Century England when there were still lords and ladies and lots of social rules. Much of the snark and best one-liners happen around the dinner table, which is elaborately arranged with characters seated according to their rank. The “historical advisor” for the show spends hours making sure the table is set properly and that the actors behave according to the very strict social rules of the period.

The strict rules of the world of Downton Abbey came to mind when reading Jesus’ dinner party instructions in this Sunday’s gospel reading. From how folks should be seated to who should be invited in the first place, Jesus seems to be setting some very curious rules about who should be welcomed at the table. Jesus’ idea of a party seems to be less about honoring those with privilege and power, and more about honoring and making space for those that are left out and powerless.

How can you make room for those left out? How can you lift up others around you?

Join us this Sunday at 6 pm as we gather at the Lord’s Table, where all are invited, and join us for supper following the service.
–Kelley

8/26 – This Week

Anticipation for what the new school year will bring is something we all experience. Will the year be a good one, is a question on our minds whether we’re returning for another year in a familiar place or just starting out a new journey.  Anticipation is a strong theme in Luke’s gospel as the story of the disabled woman in the synagogue illustrates.  Jesus encounters this woman and the anticipation is: what will happen? Will she, like the man with the withered hand, be healed or will it be like Jesus’ first synagogue appearance, where his words so enraged Nazareth they were ready to kill him.

First, Jesus takes the initiative, he approaches the woman.  He pronounces her free and he touches her.  Now the anticipation is on her response; as soon as he touches her she rises up and begins praising God.  The freedom Jesus gives this woman is the ability to participate fully in her community.  Liberation from bondage and the opportunity for a life lived in community is the result of what Jesus does for this woman, and what Jesus continues to do for us.

As we begin a new school year there’s a lot of anticipation and no small need for liberation.  You have opportunities each week to participate in the liberation that Jesus has come to bring us as well as others, and liberation means salvation as we find our meaning, purpose, and value by participation in a community which helps us find liberation.  We eagerly anticipate the opportunity to see you this week when you can join us:

On Campus:

Tuesdays at BSC
We will be on Campus hanging out in front of the Caf from 9-11 am, and then at the New Student Interest Fair from 1-2 pm. (Our weekly Eucharist will begin next Tuesday.)
Wednesdays at Samford
We’ll be on campus 9 am – 1 pm in Ben Brown Plaza for Church Connections Day.
(Our weekly Eucharist will begin next Wednesday.)
Thursdays at UAB
We’ll be in the dining area of the Hill Center from 10 am to 3 pm. Come by for a chat 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 ziti with a meat sauce or a lentil ragu for our vegetarian friends.

Sunday, 6 pm, Holy Eucharist & Supper
Join us for worship at 6 pm in the chapel, and stay for supper.

This Sunday – Pentecost 11

“Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. “

–Luke 13.10-13

  • What holds you back as you get ready to start a new school year?
  • What would being free mean to you?
  • Do you see the Church as a place you can belong?
  • What would Jesus tell you that would help you feel a full part of the community?

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 Sunday at 6pm at Trinity Commons for Eucharist and a free supper after the service.  We’re back for a new school year and we hope you’ll make the community a better place by being here too so we can all praise God and stand up straight.

Welcome!

“What do you want me to do for you?” That’s the question a blind man receives from Jesus in chapter ten of Mark’s gospel after this blind man asks for mercy. “Take heart,” say the people around this man, “get up, he is calling you.” Jesus’ question isn’t just for the blind man; it’s for any of us who call out to Jesus for mercy. Whether we call out from curiosity, confusion, or a firm and full confidence, mercy is what we all seek and need.

At Trinity Commons, and in the Episcopal ministry we do on campus, we all seek mercy, acceptance, love, and a community of people who we can support and who will support us. Whether you begin this school year in curiosity, confusion, or a firm and full confidence, the mercy you seek from Jesus is best found together, with people who seek that same mercy in whatever situation or uncertainty we may find ourselves.

We have many ways you can begin that journey towards mercy; join us on campus to just sit, ask questions, and chat. Join us in the chapel on campus for a short Eucharist, to connect the life you lead to the life you seek. Join us for community and fellowship as we work together each Tuesday at Trinity Commons at 6pm to make a pasta dinner together. And join us this Sunday (and each Sunday) at Trinity Commons at 6pm for a meal that takes what we have to give and transforms it, and us, by our participation. Then plan to stay after our Eucharist for supper.

“What do you want me to do for you?” It’s an important question, and each of us can probably answer it in our own unique way with the need we have today, and that’s fine. Jesus meets us just as he met that blind man on the road who asked Jesus, “My teacher, let me see again.” As soon as the words are out of his mouth his sight is restored, all because of a request for mercy and in response to a question about need. What do you need this new school year, Jesus is willing to listen to you; and we are here to find new sight, new life, and new experiences together.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Thomas Joyner, Chaplain
thomas@trinitycommons.org

Kelley Hudlow, Deacon
kelley@trinitycommons.org