College & God
This past Sunday I had the opportunity to preach at the church, where in college, I had the opportunity to engage in a deep and meaningful way with God. I was in college and like most wrestling with who I had been and who I was becoming. What was special about the community was their unconditional welcome.
As with many college students, we were not there very long. We did not fully engage with the community, nor did we have the resources to give, But they welcomed us, unconditionally. They invited us, strangers, into their spiritual home at the moment when we were exploring who we were, what we believed and how we were connected with the larger world. They did this without expectation, without requiring something from us in return. In his book Hoping Against Hope John Caputo says that “the first law of the “gift”, like the first law of love, is that the gift, like love, is given without why, without law or duty or debt.” With no expectation of repayment, a freely given gift, is free of guilt or shame. If there is no why associated with the gift, it then becomes a “just because.” You all gave this “just because” gift that ignited a fire within me and set me on the course I’m on today.
This is why what Covenant Student Ministries does each day is critical to the vitality of our faith community. It’s how we live out our call to love our neighbor. Who knows what would have happened if I never found this spiritual home, but I know that because of their unconditional welcome I found God at work in our world.