The Blessing of Resurrection SilenceWangerin Preaching Series concludes April 12St Paul's Cathedral Choir of London in concert April 296th Annual Easter Peeps ShowMaking a prayer requestScheduling a WeddingWangerin Preaching Series 2015-16Chinese Bible study offeredChapel plans additionWait. Watch. Pray.The Crowd Wasn't FickleLilies for EasterOrdinary GraceLent without complaintSomeone Jesus LovesSome words to live byNew Every MorningI'll Walk Beside You"Earworms" from HeavenWhat Tomorrow HoldsListening and speaking across the divideStories of ResilienceScience, Ethics & ReligionApply for Student JobsSummer jobs for studentsPeer Ministry applications due Feb. 6Sign up for Life Tree Retreat2014 Advent VespersPets provide comfort on campusCome, Lord JesusTo Whom are You Thankful?Play TimeFetter Memorial ServiceShipwrecked at the stable doorIt's Never Too LateHarvest Party is SaturdayServing up social justice and soupAll Saints 2014The Tree Grows Around the WireA Great Cloud of WitnessesWomen invited to meet Susan BriehlPrejudice as a false godWhat will you do after Valpo?Upcoming Organ EventsChurch Voc RetreatCROP Walk 2014To everything there is a seasonGod doesn't do fractionsGospel of Mark eventA prayer for todayMonday, MondayBeginningsChapel Late NiteSix WordsIn praise of doubting disciplesGoing Ahead of YouThis Changes EverythingLord, have mercyWe are [not] our workAs we speak...Service in small stepsDoes Jesus really mean that?Unexpected BlessingsOn the deaths of artistsWinter reflection: What is really necessary?The insects outnumber usHeading for HomeA prayer wave for hungerFor such a time as thisWhat do we say to such things?Can we learn to be happy?Lesson from the treesTheology of a Break UpIn praise of Plan BA letter to HannahThe dance of beauty and eternityCatch up timeThe end of accusationInspiration at the "Y"Growing into her grandmother's wisdomInstrument of peaceA seat at the tableBidden or not biddenArchived News
Heading for home
boarding pass
"[Christians] live in their own countries but only as aliens. They have a share in everything as citizens and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their fatherland and yet, for them, every fatherland is a foreign land...They busy themselves on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven."
-- Epistle to Diogenetus (ca. 130-300 AD)

This excerpt of an early Christian letter came to mind as a fitting reflection of our activities this time of year.

I'm sitting in a café at Pearson Airport in Toronto as I write this, making the best use of a layover on my way to a few days in Regina, Saskatchewan, my childhood home. 

It's a characteristic of universities: many, if not most of us are from some other place. We make a home at Valpo, but we have "homes" of one sort or another elsewhere and we set out, like latter-day Marys and Josephs, for our own version of Bethlehem. Or we're the ones making room in the inn for distant family members who will arrive soon. If this airport is any measure, countless others are involved in similar migrations.

Certainly some things are being lost by our society's rootlessness and the reunions that the holidays bring are often layered up with blessed traditions as a hoped-for antidote to it all, as though if we could create a Rockwellian moment this rootlessness will be redeemed. But we who are at home and yet not at all have an opportunity to live out our Christian identity in a way similar to that described in the ancient letter.

Admittedly, this is not the original intent of the letter – that was to explain why it was that Christians seemed to be in the prevailing culture and yet at odds with it. Nevertheless this, as a description of your life, is accurate. Each of us is a citizen of some place, yet our ultimate allegiance is tied to the reign of God which has come to be realized in the death and resurrection of Jesus for the sake of the world with which we have this complicated relationship. We look forward to Christ's restoration of the whole created order.

Much is made of the need in this time for us to be global citizens. The ancient author calls you to go one step further, to recognize in your rootlessness that you are one with the whole world because you are united to the one who created it and is actively working out its restoration.

Until then, it's one big trip with longer and shorter layovers here and there, each with its own work to be done.

Merry Christmas.

May God go with you.

+ Pr Jim

12/17/13

Rev. James A. Wetzstein and Rev. Charlene M. Rachuy Cox serve as university pastors at Valpo and take turns writing weekly reflections.