The semester is officially off and running. We are no longer in Welcome Week. The reality — with its essays, quizzes, lab reports, tests, and papers — is fully laid out for the weeks to come. It is that moment where we are beginning to find our “rhythm” for the semester, but also that moment that we aren’t just away at a conference or summer camp, but this is where we are going to live for the weeks and months to come. It can be filled with excitement, hopes, and dreams. It can also be filled with homesickness, feelings of being overwhelmed, and a bit unsettling. 

At the start of new experiences there is often a collision of what we had hoped for, what we knew, and the reality that seems to be around us.

I think this is true for freshmen, seniors, sophomores, juniors, faculty, staff, administrators, coaches, and others who make up this community. For me when I am experiencing these moments I can find it helpful to think back to other times that I had the same swirl of feelings of being overwhelmed, excited, hopeful, and longing for what was. Often in scripture we hear the prophets, Jesus, his apostles, or even God reminding God’s people of how God has been with them before and will be in the future.

On Monday President Mark Heckler was our first speaker for our Monday Morning Prayer series and shared a remarkable story about the wilderness experience of his first 48 hours as a college freshman. (You can listen to it here.)  Every Monday when classes are in session this year, faculty, staff, and administrators will be reflecting at Morning Prayer on the theme “Journeys of Faith: Wilderness, Hope, and Promise.” This will be an opportunity for us to listen deeply to one another and hear how God’s promises have shown up in our neighbors’ lives. When we listen to each other’s stories, and listen to the stories in scripture we are often reminded of moments in our own lives where we may have felt in the wilderness, when we were filled with hope, or when God’s promises grabbed hold of us in remarkable ways. We hope that this series will invite us to a space where we can share with one another about our various journeys of faith, and where we can listen deeply to one another and find ourselves listening more deeply to God’s movement in our own lives and wilderness moments.

Pastor Jim and I are also available to meet with you throughout the year as you’re on your journey. We love to listen and reflect with you on how God is moving in your life, the wildness you might be experiencing, the hopes you have, and to think about the promises of God’s grace and forgiveness we can cling to.  You can book a time with each of us at our links below.

Dcs. Kristin

Aug. 28, 2019

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

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