Thursday, February 01, 2007
I have now had more than a full week "unescorted" at the university, as the chaplain for a joint ministry of several mainline denominations. While I have by no means figured it all out, I am rapidly settling into the rhythm of the place. In many ways this work is more focused that the work I've done as an interim pastor. Mostly, that's because this is part-time and I can't realistically attempt to do what the permanent full time chaplain does in my 24 hours. So I focus on what is manageable and necessary for the moment: worship/ preaching. The weekly fellowship, including dinner and speakers/ leaders. Connecting with students. That is basically it. There are hundreds of little details in need of coordination, and I am on top of some of them. But mine is not the fundraising task, nor is it the long-term visioning of the place. Mine, rather, is an exquisite exercise in presence: being in the present, and being present.
It is fascinating rubbing elbows all day with people in the same peer group as Larry-O. I confess: it is a little like eavesdropping, I imagine, on his life. Though none of the students I've met are theater wonks. I have had some amazing conversations. I have heard about their academic anxieties. (A lot.) I have heard about their hopes for our shared ministry. (A little.) I have heard about relationships, not at all. (Yet.) (This doesn't strike me as odd. I would think that would be the last frontier in terms of trust.) I have heard about families. (Again, a little).
Happiest moment so far: being invited to brunch in the dining hall after worship Sunday, traipsing across the snowy campus in my collar and good "Sunday" coat in a chattering group of about a dozen. Funniest moment during lunch: I was blathering about the fact that we have communion coming up this Sunday, and I asked (basically knowing the answer) whether it was the tradition there to use grape juice or wine. I watched as, lightning-fast, glances were exchanged around the table, and about six students said, sounding like a Greek chorus, "juice." And we all cracked up. They'd thought about it.
Thanks to foreverdigit and Flickr for the photo.