It’s official: In a little over a month, Pastor Kate, Valpo’s newest University Pastor, will be joining our community. I am looking forward to her arrival.

At the same time, I’m grateful to Deaconess Kristin (“DK”) for her partnership in ministry over these last two and a half years. Her warm heart and generous spirit, not to mention her accessibility to students and the rest of the Valpo family, have made her a valuable colleague. I have thanked her many times for sticking things out with us.

While worship at the Chapel has been suspended over the break, both DK and I will be around and available through the rest of November and all of December.

As noted above, January will bring the arrival of Pastor Kate. She’ll be looking forward to starting to get to know us before classes begin again near the end of that month, so watch this space for introductions and news as things get going.

In the meantime, students, I’ll be keeping regular drop-in hours on Zoom. I’ll be online over the break every weekday from 4 to 5 in the afternoon, Central time. The only weekdays that I won’t be on are Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Day, and New Year’s Eve.  You don’t have to have anything going on to join the conversation.  Just stop by and say “Hi.” It will be good to stay connected. I look forward to seeing you. 

Faculty and staff, I’ll be keeping up with my email while we’re all working from home, though I pray you’ll take a much-needed and well-deserved break in these days. (Students, I’m happy to read your email as well, if you choose to send some.)

It’s been a really rough semester in so many ways many of us are happy to be nearly through it. Yet, while we all prepare to take a much needed breath, let us eagerly anticipate the days and months ahead. 

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a story of ten bridesmaids waiting for a wedding celebration to begin. Five are described as wise and five as foolish. This contrast between the way of wisdom and the way of foolishness is a recurring theme in the Bible. The wise women brought oil to keep their lamps burning as they waited through the night. The women described as foolish seemed not to have thought that far ahead and brought only their lamps and the oil they could hold. The wise women are described as watchful. They might also be described as anticipating. To me, the difference between anticipation and mere waiting is that of activity versus passivity. To anticipate is to eagerly expect something, looking forward to it and maybe even, if appropriate, taking action toward readiness. Waiting carries more of a sense of killing time, maybe under the impression that nothing will ever really change.

These are days for both rest and anticipation. The months behind and before us have and will be filled with challenges. There have also and will continue to be blessings. We are not thankful for everything but in everything, may we find reasons for thanks.

Peace and joy,

Pastor Jim

Nov. 18, 2020

University Pastor James Wetzstein and Deaconess Kristin Lewis take turns writing weekly reflections. You can contact Deaconess Kristin here and Pastor Jim here