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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