Greetings in Christ!
Starting this Sunday at CLC, we embark upon a new series called, “Who is Jesus? Who are we?” As we continue our walk through this crucial time in the Gospel of Mark, we focus upon Jesus’ identity and, from that place, how Jesus shapes the church.
Yet, not all may find this kind of focus exciting. At least two reasons come to mind. First, we all already think we know who Jesus is, which is all fine and good until you ask a dozen people on the street to give a one sentence description of Jesus. Then you’ll get twelve different outlooks, twelve different perspectives, and maybe even twelve different Jesuses.
And, of course, we already know who we are, don’t we? Many of us, myself included, can get pretty huffy when someone tries to tell us what to do or who to be, or in other words, when someone tries to shape our identity. But, how often have we wondered if we are at the right place in life? How often have we daydreamed about doing something else, going somewhere else, being someone else? How often do we question our own identities?
This series is important because we don’t know ourselves nearly as well as we think we do, and we don’t know always know what to think of Jesus either. So, each week, we’ll leave with a better understanding of one part of Jesus’ identity and one part of our identity as Christians. Each sermon will offer a simple reminder phrased something like this, “Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and we are His Sheep.” Don’t worry, that’s not one of the upcoming readings, so no spoilers were given!
If you’ve got questions about these things, or perspectives that you’d like considered, please call Pastor Andrew at the church office or send him an email. In preparation for this, spend some time in prayer with God and conversation with one another, asking what you’d like to learn about God and yourself as a person of faith.
Greetings in Christ!
Today, classes start at Radford University. Students have already been at it for a week at New River Community College and Virginia Tech. Across the country, people of all ages are once again inhabiting the life of a student.
When I started my year of Lutheran study at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Brent Driggers brought a powerful word during our orientation. He reminded us that the life of a student wasn’t just a holding pattern until we hit the real world, that we weren’t just biding our time until we got jobs. God calls us to be students. Education is a vocation that we pursue, one that deserves our attention and our effort.
As the streets fill with students, many who for the first time enter the hallowed halls of Sharkeys and fill the Kroger parking lot, we as a church must remember that we’re called to support the God-given vocations of all people. We’ve got precious few months to bless the people from our own back yard and across the country who come to study in the New River Valley.
This doesn’t just mean supporting Highlander Lutherans, though that’s certainly a big part. How do we as “townies” make welcome these people called by God to live with us in the NRV? How do we support their vocations? How do we provide opportunities for education, for relaxation, for reflection, for Sabbath? How do we pray for them?
When you have the opportunity this fall – and trust me, if you leave your house, you’ll have the opportunity – find small ways to bless the students, faculty, and staff of our institutions. When you find a new person at the park or in the checkout line, ask if they’re connected with RU or another one of the schools here. Ask what they study and why they chose to come here. Give them our church’s contact info and let them know we’re here for them while they’re here in the New River Valley. Buy them lunch. Pray for them. Wish them well. As their vocation is to be a student, or staff person, or professor, ours is to bring the love of God to our neighbors in higher education. Let’s take that commission seriously and make a difference for the communities at RU, NRCC, and VT.
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