Surrounded by God

I recently went to the doctor because I was having trouble breathing, they prescribed me an inhaler and in teaching me how to use it emphasized the importance to exhaling before using it so that my lungs were empty and then taking a long and deep breath so that the medication could completely fill and penetrate to all parts of my lungs, in order to “heal them” or help me to breathe easier. Later when I was trying to think of where I see God and how I experience God I realized that God is a lot like an inhaler. He fills us, and in different ways for different people. Personally when I listen to music I feel filled and surrounded by something greater than myself, which is able to take me away from any mental place I may feel stuck in. And I think it is fair to say that that something that I feel filled by is God. I also feel filled by God when I am having a conversation with a friend or participating in community. It seems that God knows us, and knows what mediums in which to come to us and fill us, whether it be through music, through another person, when doing yoga, or when standing at the summit of a mountain. So in conclusion, God is a lot like an inhaler. Many times in order to fully feel his presence and healing power we need to empty ourselves of our burdens and stresses (which I realize is much harder than exhaling). But then he is able to fill us through the things around us, such as through music or conversation. But no matter what, whether we inhale or exhale, look for him or don’t, God finds a way to seep through.

Tuesdays Together

I had the absolute privilege to volunteer along side some fellow LCM leaders on Valentine’s Day this year. We are on the “Tuesdays Together” service team that volunteers at a community event that takes place the 2nd Tuesday of every month at the Center for Changing Lives. It is a program all about creating community and building relationships with families in the Phillips Neighborhood. The second Tuesday of February this year happened to be Valentine’s Day, so we had a lot of fun coming up with crafts and activities to do with the kids! We found that you can have some great conversations while decorating and coloring! (be sure to click on the title of this post “Tuesdays Together” to see some photos!) [slideshow] -Valerie

A Poem About Grace

Praise Jesus,

There is no black and white,

There is grace.

From grace we repent;

For grace we act and serve;

By grace we are free.

Let not there be shame,

Nor guilt,

Only grace;

Only Christ.

~Andrew Gerdeen

Speaking to Strangers

Hospitality. Curiosity. Integrity. Service. Justice.

At our leader retreat that began the semester, we examined these concepts as the core values of our ministry. We decided that in order to embrace them fully, we had to embody them and practice them in our daily lives. But how?

We agreed as a group upon a series of actions to practice these values. The first: Introduce yourself to one new person every day.

For the past week, this has been my goal. It has proven surprisingly easy, and incredibly enjoyable. As I enter new classes for the semester, I encounter rooms full of unknown faces, all with a story and something to say. I have met more people than I can remember names, far exceeding my expectations of one person a day. And it has been quite good fun.

Often, I find myself all too content to settle into a chair in a lecture hall (preferably on the end of a row, nearer the back than the front) and spend the next hour or two speaking to no one. I wouldn’t exactly call it antisocial – if someone talks to me I’ll happily speak back – but more of a tired lack of effort. In a night class at the end of a long day it seems much easier to read the paper silently than to strike up a conversation with your neighbor.

What I didn’t realize was the number of people I missed the opportunity to talk to. Just in the past week, I learned about a classmate who had just gotten off a red-eye flight, heard a man’s story about his son’s struggles and triumphs, received wonderful life advice from a stranger, met a classmate from Egypt, a business major in a horticulture class, a fellow journalist student, a barrista in a coffee shop, and I haven’t even spoken to half the people in my classes, not to mention the flood of new faces I encounter each day.

It has been wonderful. These conversations don’t drain my energy, they give me energy. They make night class more enjoyable. They allow me to walk into a lecture hall full of a hundred faces and recognize numerous smiles by the third day.

And they make me more and more curious.

Being a journalism major has taught me that everyone has a story, but I somehow didn’t extend that characteristic to all of my classmates. Now I want to know the story of each person I sit next to, and in the five minutes before class starts, maybe they’ll share a tiny snippit with me, if only their name.

– Bryna

Inconceivable!

Come tomorrow, I will officially have been back in the Twin Cities for a month. Wait… what? Inconceivable! As I reflect back on the time which has already been spent, I can affirm that the most treasured assets to the University and to Lutheran Campus Ministry are people. Those friendships and connections which first introduced me to the greatness of this place held true as I returned in August. Over the past month, I’ve spent time reconnecting with old friends, meeting new ones, and even cultivating better relationships with people whom I had already known. I was graciously taken in by my great-uncle Bob and great-aunt Laurel for my first week back during LCM leader training. Their hospitality and friendliness were greatly appreciated as we got to know each other better over the week (we had previously only talked with each other at semi-annual family reunions). Kate, Emily, Chelsea, Nate, Lisa, Sara, Laura, Sarah, Laura, Kalysta, Joe, Meghan, Valerie, Ellen, Bryna, Eric, Andrew and I spent our first week back takin’ care of LCM business while catching up where we had left off with each other in May. By the end of the week, we were so well reacquainted with each other that we completed a “blind” team-building exercise within a minute’s time. Inconceivable! Since classes have begun, the focus has shifted back to the daily grind. New courses, new professors, new classmates, and new responsibilities have kept us excited and busy. At times the weight of it all can be overwhelming, with days that have nonstop action. This past Sunday, I woke up, went to worship at Grace, immediately power-walked to work, and went back to Grace for Bread & Belonging as soon as my shift was done. While the day was long, I was lucky enough to meet Wallace Shawn at work (Vizzini from Princess Bride). Inconceivable! To those new or returning students who have already felt the stress of balancing school and life as I have, I offer this piece of advice. Even though you can’t put the pressures that come along with college to rest for good, you can find relief in the form of community. Finding times in the week to sit, relax, and talk to other students who understand the hectic college life is a great way to put your mind at ease. If you’re at all interested in getting to know some new friends, finding a relaxing place to worship, or simply to eat some great food, consider Lutheran Campus Ministry. Inconceivable? Hardly.   Luke Jerviss

My Undecided Titled Blog Entry!

A couple weeks of school have passed and I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been keeping busy! The first Pause service of the year was held on the 7th and it was great to see all kinds of new faces walk through the door and to hear the Pause Band filling the sanctuary with music again. We, with the help of crayons and Pastor Kate, dove into a tricky verse that really presented us with an image of God that we aren’t used to or necessarily comfortable with- an angry, violent God. It was a great night to really ‘pause’ and reflect on things. And the night of course, ended with some rockin pizza and socializing. On another note, I think the outreach team has finally settled on a name and has been steadily adding songs to its repertoire! Twang of Joy has been working on a few songs of the “Tealgrass” persuasion and currently consists of some voices, a mandolin, a ukulele, a fiddle, a guitar, and an Ikea bag full of wonder. Oooooo! We can currently be spotted at Bread and Belonging and are hoping to soon be coming to a bridge near you:-) I have seen God this week in the faces, love and hugs of old friends- In the warmth and welcoming I have received from new classmates/random people at Starbucks/people of Grace- And in the strong promise I feel for this year. I can’t wait to see what the year holds! Emily Hegland

New School Year Jitters

The week before school started, 16 LCM leaders got together to start planning for the year to come.  How would we get new students interested?  What little things could we do to brighten up campus?  The first day was especially stressful, thinking of the whirlwind that would soon follow.  But then we started to get to know each other and learn each others strengths, and soon were certain that, together, with the help of God, we could handle the craziness of the coming year. Through the week I saw God in many places: – In the graciousness of members of Grace eager to build relationships with our students – In the community we built, trusting each other, being there for each other when we needed it most, and being able to bring our whole selves to the table. – In the willingness to take on responsibilities that we didn’t plan on taking on, but knowing the importance, and taking responsibility for them. – In the beautiful weather we got to go outside to enjoy during breaks. – In the eager faces of the freshmen as they moved into their new home away from home. Dear Lord, Thank you for being with us in this time of transition as we struggle to get in the swing of things.  Thank you for the amazing people I have met through LCM and help us to continue to deepen our relationships.  Continue to bring us all peace in our busy times now that classes have once again started. Amen.    ~Sara Sneed