“The Journey”

Hey ONU Seniors!  Getting ready to graduate?  Wondering what life will be like in the so-called “real world”? 

Join us on April 2nd and 3rd for “The Journey”–Conversations about life after graduation.

April 2nd at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.  April 3rd at 7 a.m. 

These events will be limited to 15 graduating seniors! 

Sign up at the information desk in MAC.

Light refreshments will be provided at each session.

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(Holi) Week

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Today marks the Hindu festival of colors, called Holi, which commemorates the Hindu story of Prahlada, who was saved from being burned alive when the god Vishnu intervened.  It marks the beginning of spring in India, and is most often celebrated with large crowds throwing colored dyes and powders at one another, in a kind of free-for-all atmosphere. 

Today is also known as “Spy Wednesday,” the time when the Church remembers the story of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus to the authorities.  During Holy Week, Christians everywhere reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and the saving grace of God through the power of resurrection. 

Interesting, then, that these two festivals should intersect. 

By that, I mean that it’s interesting to see two different stories from two different faith traditions, which have spawned very different celebrations, but which at their core celebrate the power of the Divine over death and destruction. 

On the one hand, Hindus are celebrating the power of Vishnu over the death that had been proscribed for Prahlada.  On the other, Christians are celebrating God’s victory over death in the resurrection of Jesus.  Both traditions–Holi and Easter–now involve vivid colors and the conjunction of the celebration of spring with the celebration of victory over death.

Now, I’m not trying to make a connection here between Hindu and Christian teachings.  It should be obvious to all who know me well which of these stories I will be celebrating this week (It’s the one about Jesus, of course).  But what I am amazed with is the connection that we human beings make between this life and the next, and between God (the Divine) and power over death. 

Death is the one thing that unites us all–Democrat/Republican, East/West, Christian/Jew/Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist–you name it, we all face the same fate in the end.  Religion is about what we make of that great equalizer–do we give death power over us, do we fight it, do we embrace it as the next stage in life, or do we see it as a temporary pain in the light of eternity? 

Whatever answer you hold on to–and I know that the students I work with have many answers that they bring to the table–may you be encouraged that life always overcomes death.  After all, it’s no coincidence that these festivals that celebrate life seem to come just as the new life of spring is peeking up out of the cold death of winter. 

Have a happy Holi (and Holy) Week!

Blessings,

David

Off to Jackson!

Well, about 14 hours, I will be on my way to Jackson, Mississippi, for a one-week Habitat for Humanity work week with about 50 wonderful, talented, excited, dedicated students from ONU! 

We’ve been working long and hard on this trip, pretty much since the day I walked onto campus.  The students have worked hard raising funds (but we could always use more if you’d like to donate!), contacting the local affiliates, making arrangements for meals–everything you could think of to make a trip like this successful.  And, they’ve been doing all this not just for the Jackson trip, but for Davidson, North Carolina, Greenville, South Carolina, and Albany, Georgia! 

I am looking forward to a week of bonding with the students–something that really breathes life into my ministry as chaplain.  I am also looking forward to seeing the life changes that will take place–with the homeowners, and with the students–as we work to make a small but significant difference.  Most of all, though, I am looking forward to the little surprising moments when God will break into our ordinary, everyday lives, and remind us that we are created in God’s image–blessed to be a blessing.

Please keep us in your prayers this week.  We will surely need them, especially as arms and legs and bodies get tired toward the end of the week.  Pray for the unity of our groups, that we might treat one another with respect and love, even when things seem bleak and dim.  Keep the homeowners in your prayers, as fifty college students and a hapless advisor stumble into their homes to help out.  Most of all, pray that lives will be changed, that eyes will be opened, and that a difference will be made.

Peace,

David