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This Sunday – Third Sunday after the Epiphany

This Sunday

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
–Matthew 4.18-22

  • What job are you hoping to have when you’re done with college?
  • What are the communities (clubs, organizations) that are important to you?  What draws you to them and what keeps you there?
  • Do you consider yourself a follower or an admirer of Jesus?  Is there a difference between the two?
  • Why do you think Simon, Andrew, James, and John immediately followed Jesus?

Are you a follower?  This week we hear another story of the calling of the disciples.  Each day we make choices to follow certain people, follow specific dreams, and follow our inner voice.  At Trinity Commons this Sunday at 6 pm we’ll reflect on what it means to be a follower, how to know what to follow, and who’re the voices we should be listening to as we try and find a path.  As always we’ll have a delicious free supper thanks to our friend Barbara Sloan and the folks at St. Andrew’s. I hope you’ll join us on Sunday.

–Thomas

This Week – 01/20/2020

This week.

I had a recent exchange where I was asked what my experience is of change in the church.  I replied that it was quite a lot; each semester in campus ministry is different from the last.  Some new people come and familiar faces are less familiar.  People go through seasons of engagement, and all of us, over the course of our lives, change as we grow.  That’s how it should be; change isn’t easy but when we engage and not resist we can find transformation for ourselves and our society.  But engagement means something for the long haul.  Engagement asks us to see ourselves as a part of something more, something greater, something with purpose and character, than just our needs in one given moment.

We remember Martin Luther King Jr. not just because he was a civil rights leader in an era when we needed civil rights leaders.  We remember Martin Luther King Jr. because he articulated a vision: a biblical vision of the goodness of creation, the power of being called to live as God’s people, and the strength necessary to challenge ourselves and others to live as the people of God.  Rather than rage against the world he reminded us of the power of peace, rather than assault those who opposed him he invited them to see the abundance around them, rather than tear down institutions build around the status quo he led us to imagine institutions living fully into what they could be for the benefit of our society.  That’s how it should be for us as we continue to engage reluctant institutions, those who don’t agree with us, and those who prefer conflict as they focus on fear, resentment, and self-interest.

This is a season of change, and at Trinity Commons we’re going to start this new year embracing some change by engaging with the world which God calls ‘good’ in its forming, which Jesus is born into to live and work, and which the Holy Spirit continues to be a guide as we live into new challenges.  I know not everything is for everyone, but I encourage you to join us, to get out of your comfort zone, and to allow yourself to try and experience the transformative power of change.

–Thomas

On Campus

Wednesdays at Samford 
We’re back on campus this Wednesday. 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

Pasta Night returns on January 28, at 6 pm!

This Sunday – Second Sunday after the Epiphany

 

This Sunday

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day.
–John 1.35-39

  • Do you know where you want to go in life?  What would help you figure it out?
  • What principles/values guide you in your relationships with others?
  • If Jesus were to ask you, “What are you looking for?” how would you answer?
  • Is Jesus a Teacher or the Messiah?  Is there a difference?

From baptism we follow Jesus into calling disciples, and those things are connected.  If you’re interested in how we live into our baptism and respond to Jesus’ invitation that is authentic and inviting to all people then join us as we gather to learn how to best respond, and invite others to respond.  A good start is to be with us at Trinity Commons Sunday at 6 pm for Eucharist and supper; we’re looking forward to a delicious meal thanks to our friend Monica Romano.

–Thomas

This Week – 01/13/2020

This week.

Did you make a new year’s resolution? Despite what you did last year, was this the year you resolved to try to exercise more, study more, spend more time with friends or less time on your phone?  Did you resolve to be more patient with your parents, more thoughtful to the person you date or take a risk and put yourself out there to begin to date?  Those resolutions, the triumph of hope over experience, are about our recognition that we can be better than we are, that there’s a way to live life with others which we’re not quite getting the most out of now.  Resolutions are ultimately about saying we see things differently now and, however imperfect we may actually live it out, we’re going to try and be that better self.

Jesus isn’t just born and baptized just to help us be better people; he’s born and baptized to show us who he is, and who God is.  I’m not sure if it caught your attention from Sunday’s gospel, but Jesus tells John that his baptism must happen to fulfill all ‘righteousness.’ That’s a word we’re not familiar with, though Matthew’s gospel will make much use of it; often, for us, it means ‘holy,’ ‘pious,’ or ‘perfect,’ but for Matthew it means Jesus understands himself as someone to live into a way of life. That life is as the Messiah, the one come to inaugurate the kingdom of God. That’s why we are baptized too, to engage in our own way into that way of life and to do our part for the kingdom of God.

It’s a new year and a new semester; you begin with a new schedule, new classes with new professors and classmates, and new eyes in which to see yourself on campus. Whether you’ve resolved to begin this new year and new semester trying to do some things differently or you’re hoping for more of the same from last year, may you see yourself in a new way as a part of the mission of the Messiah who came to earth, who was baptized, and who calls us to follow to be agents of change for ourselves and for those around us. New ways of living and loving are possible, and we’re capable of change, but only if we, like John, recognize that what we’re invited to see and live isn’t just a life centered around ourselves but a life lived in recognition of God who lives with us and invites us to live a new way of life together.

–Thomas

On Campus

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

Pasta Night returns on January 28, at 6 pm!

This Sunday – First Sunday after the Epiphany

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This Sunday

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.
–Matthew 3.13-15

  • Do you consider yourself a rule follower, or a rule breaker?
  • What are the values or beliefs which guide you? How do you live those out?
  • Why does Jesus need to be baptized?
  • What does baptism do, accomplish, or define for us?

We’re back to start a new semester and a new year.  Each new beginning comes with promise, some uncertainty, and a great deal of change.  Maybe you’re looking forward to this change or maybe it’s a little scary having to figure things out all over again.

Come join us at Trinity Commons Sunday at 6 pm for Eucharist and supper, to hear about new beginnings and what we can learn from Jesus about a new start. Whether you join us each week or you’ve been meaning to come but haven’t, this is a new beginning and we’re ready to begin the year with you.

–Thomas

This Sunday – Advent 3

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This Sunday

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Join us tonight at 6 pm for worship on the Third Sunday of Advent. This will be our last Sunday worship service of 2019. So if you are still in Birmingham, come say hello and share Holy Communion.

–Kelley

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