This semester has been filled with many joys and meaningful experiences. As this Sunday is Partner Sunday, I’m reminded how much we appreciate the partners of the Lutheran Center. Without the support of our partners we wouldn’t have the privilege to encounter the opportunities that we’ve had this fall.
As Cassey Lottman has written, “Interfaith and ecumenical dialogue is breaking out like acne!” This has had a huge impact on the way that we are doing ministry this year. This fall students gathered at the center with much joy and excitement as we were going to watch Pope Francis address the United States Congress with our Catholic Brothers and Sisters. When we got there, we experienced the most radical hospitality from them through their excitement, coffee, donuts and the openness to conversation. When the address to Congress was over, students in the room gathered around the manuscript of the address. Students started talking about what they agreed with and what they didn’t agree with. It was a safe space for us to have honest conversation where we could share our thoughts. We stopped the conversation when Pope Francis addressed the people outside the Capital. He asked people to pray for him and if they didn’t believe to send him good wishes. SO then it happened! We gathered together, in a circle, shoulder to shoulder and prayed for Pope Francis. Catholics and Lutherans got together to pray as one holy catholic church.
Another thing that has been a joy to be a part of at the Lutheran Center this fall is our Brown Bag Theology group. In this group, students read a book and discuss one chapter a week over a lunch hour. We bring our “sack lunch”, sit around a table and dive into discussion. This year we are reading a book by James Cone called The Cross and the Lynching Tree. Our discussion has been centered on racism and privilege. Quite honestly, it’s been a very difficult discussion. We just can’t imagine the experience because for those in this particular book group, our race hasn’t ever been a barrier holding us back. Following the book we watched a movie called A Time for Burning, in which a black Lutheran church and a white Lutheran church try to integrate. From this book we’ve had dialogue with the local AME Church from the Rev. Karla Cooper who shared her stories and experiences.
There are a lot of things that we do here at the Lutheran Center that stretch from Fireside Faith to Bible Studies. It also includes worships on Wednesdays and Sundays. We also have the opportunity to discern where God might be calling us in our everyday life. And, then there is free coffee!
Because of the support of our partners we are able to have tough conversations around things that matter. Because of the support of our partners we are able to be radically hospitable to the students of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This campus ministry is a place where disciples are being equipped for life, and it couldn’t be done without the partners of the Lutheran Center.