Heirs Through Hope

Titus 3:3-7 (NIV)

“3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”


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“Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee for that thou dost feed us, in these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ; and dost assure us thereby of thy favor and goodness towards us; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs, through hope, of thy everlasting kingdom.”


During my mission trip to Mexico with the Wesley Foundation this past summer I kept a daily journal documenting the places we visited, the people we met, and the things I was being taught. Near the end of the trip there’s an entry that, besides the date, contains only one word:


“Hope”


I’m not certain what exactly had happened this day to prompt my meditation on this word. It is true though that if I could choose one word to describe our mission to Mexico it would be “hopeful.” 

In the months leading to the mission I had been confronted by questions and doubts that, until then, I had not experienced, at least not to the extent that I was now experiencing them - questions of my purpose, of the existence of God, of His love for me. As far as I could tell, these questions had come from exhaustion from what I can only describe as what I perceived to be lack of passion or at the very least a lack of joy. I had begun to become dissatisfied by what I felt was merely a trust of the faith of others. Despite these questions, I was advised to continue in the act of trusting. To hope.

So I went to Mexico. 

In each location during our four-week mission, we served alongside ministers of the Anglican Church of Mexico. I saw these men and women serve in beautiful ways, especially in the giving of themselves, in poverty of spirit, to the straightforward preaching of the Gospel, trusting that the Lord would take their offering and use it to gather people to Himself. These ministers - both those officially appointed by the Anglican Church as well as their parishioners, who showed us immediate and unconditional love and hospitality - invited us into the understanding that we have nothing more and nothing less to offer than the love of Christ. Many of them had little to give but what they had, they gave without reservation. Many were struggling in very real, very painful ways, and yet were dying to themselves and stepping out in obedience daily. These ministers reminded us through their humility and love of their of the joy of proclaiming the Gospel - joy that had us dancing in the rain and laughing with strangers and singing in the streets.

In the church services we participated in, we were invited to further lose ourselves by joining our voices in the words of the Book of Common Prayer. These words, though spoken in Spanish, were familiar to me by my family’s occasional attendance in Episcopal churches throughout my childhood and in the Wesley Foundation’s weekly celebration of the Eucharist. Theoretically, the importance of liturgy in its transcendence of tongue and nation and time has always made sense to me but it was not until I was standing beside these believers, in a place I had never been, stumbling over words in language that I did not know, that this transcendence was made real to me. It was there, in the familiar rhythm of the Holy Eucharist Rite Two, that the Holy Spirit showed me that it is in losing myself, in losing my voice to the crowd, that I am united to the Body of Christ.

I was reminded that to know that I am loved by Jesus is to be reminded weekly and daily of His body and blood - to admit my weakness and to rely wholly on the grace of Jesus, manifested in the sacraments. To know Jesus is not to merely know about Him but to be caught up in the rhythm of the celebration of His sacrifice for us that hems us in through hope with our brothers and sisters - co-heirs and co-laborers - and binds us to the grace and kindness that caused us to hope in the first place. I found that what I had seen as “merely” trust was really the beginning and the end of my faith. As the writer of Hebrews tells us, it is because we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses that we are able to throw off everything that hinders us and run with endurance the race before us. If the Eucharist teaches us to hope, it is because it assures us, when we are most unsure, that we are members of a mystical body of believers. 

Often hope seems like a bittersweet word to me - a word of future good, implying present suffering. I think that in many ways it is this but it is also more than this. In Mexico, I was reminded of a living hope. I was taught to hope, not in what I may one day feel or for a salvation that I may one day achieve but for a good inheritance that I have already been given. An inheritance that I do not earn but that was in fact given to me at the very moment I felt I deserved or even understood it the least. An inheritance that I do not receive alone but that I receive with the multitude of saints across the world and throughout time, the company of the blessed, the poor in spirit, who proclaim that they are very members incorporate in the mystical body of God’s Son and also heirs, through hope, of His everlasting kingdom.

I will forget these things, no doubt. I will feel lost. I will wander. I will question why I haven’t yet moved passed my brokenness or doubts. But Jesus does not tell us to figure everything out before coming to Him - instead, He gives us hope. He tells us to ask, trusting that He will answer. He tells us to lose ourselves and follow Him because it is in losing ourselves that we are found and it is through hope that He calls us heirs and invites us into the joy of our salvation. He calls each of us to do this individually, but when we do we will look around to see that there are others, too, who hope with us and sometimes even for us.


Wenona is a sweet soul and has been involved in The Wesley Foundation for three years. She is currently in her final year at Louisiana Tech University majoring in English and minoring in Plant Science. She enjoys dancing, spending quality time with her fellow community members and has a vibrant smile that brings joy to all she encounters. We are so thankful to have this lovely woman apart of our community.

Wenona is a sweet soul and has been involved in The Wesley Foundation for three years. She is currently in her final year at Louisiana Tech University majoring in English and minoring in Plant Science. She enjoys dancing, spending quality time with her fellow community members and has a vibrant smile that brings joy to all she encounters. We are so thankful to have this lovely woman apart of our community.

Joy is a Missional Necessity

“Joy is a missional necessity.” Director, Ryan Ford

What is our mission? What is the thing that sets Christianity apart from everything else? What makes the submission of your whole self to its teachings worthwhile? In short, the answer is Jesus. He entered the womb of a virgin, dwelt among humanity, and ultimately sacrificed himself to pay the debt incurred by our sin. As his disciples, we are proclaiming the glory of the life he lived and the salvation that is available to every person through his death and resurrection. He commissioned us to live on this earth and scatter the seeds of the kingdom - his words of life. There is immense beauty in this mission when we consider the magnitude of the love that our Heavenly Father has for us. He loves the world as a whole, yes. But, he also loves us on an individual, deeply intimate level. He sees our goodness, delighting in it. He loves us just the same in our badness, in the darkness of our thoughts. We do not disgust him or scare him. He formed us in our mother’s womb and called us by name before we ever had a chance to earn his devotion. 

It is this revelation of Divine love that serves as the initial motivation for our evangelism. It lends an authenticity that keeps us from becoming fake. If we had no personal experience of the love of God we would have no sense of responsibility to tell people. We tell people about Jesus because he’s healed our hearts, and when you find a good thing, a truly good thing, you want others to understand it. Just as it is impossible to have a genuine mission without love, it is impossible to have a sustainable mission without joy. Joy is the thing that engenders perseverance and commitment. When you look forward to doing something, it never matters how exhausted you are. You’ll keep doing that thing. No matter how hard it gets, you will press on, knowing that the work is good and valuable. Joy is what separates vibrant evangelism from lifeless laboring. It is still possible to do all of the “good” things - form new connections, extend invitations, foster spiritual conversations - and do them with consistency and faithfulness, but totally lack any grasp of how magnificent the mere opportunity to tell others of Jesus is. At that point, the harvesting ceases to be a celebration and reduces to nothing more than an obligation to be dispassionately fulfilled, which will inevitably lead to feelings of resentment and irritation when the effort doesn’t prove to be immediately profitable.

At the end of the day, joy is a missional necessity because it is the outward, evangelistic expression of the knowledge that we are loved by a God who stepped out of eternity into time and space to be nearer to the brokenhearted. Not only did he write our names in the heavens, but he steadily calls all of creation to himself. It is a privilege that we get to participate in this calling, and we should approach it with unbridled fervor. The goodness of Jesus is worth shouting over. It’s worth dancing over. As the psalmist said, 

You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. [Psalm 4:7

We are given an invitation to step into an incomprehensible, unexplainable joy. It exceeds anything and everything that could be offered in opposition because it is anchored in the cross of Christ. His love knows no bounds, so let our joy know no end.


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Bekah Beck

Bekah is a devoted follower of Christ and member of The Wesley. After serving on the Mexico Mission team, she reflects on the embodiment of joy as both gift and evangelistic. Bekah is a true blessing to our community and the Church.

MEXICO 2019

It is with such gratitude and praise we share this video of our Mexico Mission, which was taken in a 1 second a day format, and highlights just a glimpse of the joy, hope, and love of the Lord experienced there.

The Wesley's team of 16 students and staff served alongside beautiful Church bodies in Mexico in May-June 2019.

Mexico Mission Update!

Hello Friends and Family,

Our time in Mexico has been a wonderful experience for the entire team. This past week we spent time in Cuauhtemoc, and upon arrival we were greeted by Reverend Esaul. We traveled for the majority of the week, going to mountain villages, visiting the natives, and going to elementary schools to visit the kids.

Among all the things that we witnessed while in Cuauhtemoc, the one thing we were most grateful for were the four teenage boys who traveled with us: Jesús, Oscar, Carlos, and Caesar. Growing up, these young men have had a hard life. They’ve lost family members, have felt as if they had no one in their life, and been influenced by others to take drugs. But, through the church and the guidance of Rev. Esaul, they were able to find a family, a father, and God. Their lives have been completely transformed by the love of Christ and His people. These boys didn’t know who we were when they met us close to 11 PM at the Chihuahua airport last Wednesday night, but by the end of the week, we had become life-long friends.

During out time there, Rev. Esaul led us and the boys to different villages across the mountains of Chihuahua to bring the Gospel to the Tarahumara people. They are the natives of this region of Mexico. They are very poor, looked down on, and often mistreated by the cartels and the government. They live in remote places in the mountains where the families struggle to have common necessities such as food, education, and medicine. Rev. Esaul cannot make trips there often. For example, one of the villages we visited he had not been to in over two years, and no other missionaries had come in at least 10 years. We also visited a school and an orphanage for the Tarahumarans where we played games with the children and taught them stories from the Bible. The teachers and students were so excited to see us and asked if we could return in future years to stay longer and help teach English as well. In the last place we visited we had communion next to a river with some Tarahumara children from one of the poorest areas. Partaking of the sacrament in the beauty of God’s creation with three different cultures represented was an amazing experience. At each location we gave candy and toys to the children, and we did our best to show them that God loves them, that He cares for them, and that they matter immensely. Rev. Esaul told us that the best place to plant seeds for the Gospel is in children, and his love for them was inspiring and contagious. It has been a blessing to be a part of his ministry here, and we fervently hope to continue to help him in coming years.

I pray that the body of Christ will be like the church we went to. That we can show love openly to everyone. If Rev. Esaul had not been faithful to God, the boys would still be lost and broken and the villages we went to would have virtually no contact with the Gospel. God’s love belongs to everyone and we cannot choose who we give it to.

We are so thankful to all the pastors and people we meet who have been faithful to the Word of God and have welcomed us with open arms. Please continue to pray for us as we only have five days left in the beautiful country of Mexico.

Dios te bendiga (God Bless You),

The Wesley Mission Team


Mexico Mission Update!

Mexico has continued to be a place of fulfillment and wonderful joy this week. Our team feels like a family and the care and encouragement we show to each other daily has been beautiful to witness and experience. We support each other through the difficult portions of the trip, whether those moments are feelings of homesickness, exhaustion, or whatever new challenges the day may bring. We have been able to give and receive so much love with people here and to enjoy what each of us brings to make this team a blessing to us and others. The Spirit of the Lord is moving through us and through our brothers and sisters in every place we’ve visited.

Once we returned from Saltillo, we spent a few more days with the Church in San Andreas, Monterrey. Playing with the kids again was so sweet, and the closeness we’ve grown in with the community there truly touches us. It’s been especially encouraging seeing the real connections we’ve made with the adults and families of the church through that ministry, and Rev. Martín has thanked us for the life we are helping to bring to the neighborhood. We’ve painted some of the chapel building, but the real changes we’ve seen go much deeper. Moments like when we walked around the neighborhood and prayed for strangers were sincere instances of connection that transcend language difficulties, and some of our team members were even able to help teach a girl who came with us how to pray. The tears she shed and the fears she shared were reminders that God can work in someone when we least expect it. It was hard leaving them again but we will return to San Andreas once more before the mission ends.

Last Friday we left for Río Bravo and stayed three days with Rev. Elizabeth and her husband Jesús at San Esteban Anglican Church. We knew we were welcome the moment we stepped off the bus as Elizabeth hugged and kissed each of us. They are a loving couple who selflessly give to the poor of their community and their testimonies moved us deeply. It has been so reassuring to meet people who are giving everything for the Gospel and have overcome tremendous sorrow to gain lasting joy. We spent most of Saturday helping with the children’s retreat they hosted at the church. It was a beautiful time of teaching and connecting with the children; and we helped paint their new building. Being able to help a community that has experienced violence and hurt in the form of organized crime over recent years was an incredible opportunity. Elizabeth is intently motivated to reach the children there and told us repeatedly how important it is to have examples of faithful youth there for the children.

We loved our time there, and were sad to go but the last couple of days in Monterrey have been restful and fun for the team as we have celebrated birthdays and prepared for our travel to Chihuahua. In Chihuahua we will meet Padre Esaul and begin the work of ministry to communities in his area and the villages of natives who have been overlooked and ostracized. We are excited for this next step in our journey, and we hope you will continue to pray for us and the new people we meet!


Mexico Mission Testimony

Friends and Family,

We have been in Mexico for a week and a half, and are loving living with the church members we are serving alongside. This past weekend, our team went to the beautiful city of Saltillo. When we arrived at the bus station we were greeted by Padre Victor, Priest at the Anglican Church of the Nativity in Saltillo. During our time there, our team stayed in the homes of different families of the congregation, allowing us to be immersed in their lives while serving alongside them in their ministry. This weekend held so many miracles and chances of healing for the team. Through our host families we witnessed the unconditional love of Christ which binds families together and unites them us the Church. They did not only show this love to each other but to us as well. When we arrived they showered us with the love and affection of brothers and sisters - love that we didn’t have to work for but that was freely given. They understood that the love they have is the love of God that belongs to all nations, transcends all languages, and will never run out.

To better understand what these families meant to us, here is an entry from the journal of one of our team members, Maegan, upon leaving Saltillo:

I have cried a lot today. Mexico is such beauty. Beauty is lavished in the faces of people here who are so ready to welcome us into their hearts, their homes, their lives. I treasure the moments I spent in Saltillo. They changed my life forever. I am wearing the beautiful earrings my Tia Mary gave me. She taught me to make her ‘huevos deliciosos’ this morning. Tio Jose left early this morning. I see one of his company’s trains pass and wonder if he is the conductor. I used to say that you can’t love someone only knowing them three days. I don’t think that anymore. These strangers have become my family. They truly showed me how love crosses all borders, all races, all languages, all countries. We are bound together in the love of God. We have this bond because we came into the relationship with the intention of pouring God’s love out on each other. What if we did that with everyone? What kind of bonds would we make? Many people said today that its not ‘goodbye’, but ‘see you later’. I would go even further than that. We are never away from them. I have Jose with me every time I sing one of the songs he taught me. I have Mary with me every time I make the food she taught me to cook, or when I wear her earrings. Every time I hold a baby I will have Dante and Effi and Luna with me. But most importantly, every time we are with God we are with them because we share the Spirit of God that is within us. Every time we participate in Holy Eucharist we become one with Christ and one with each other-- one with the people of Saltillo. We are one of them. They are one of us. Por los siglos de los siglos. (Forever and Ever)

Peace be to God,

The Wesley Mission Team


Mexico Mission Update

We have only been in Mexico for three days but it has felt like a lifetime for us. Our first week will be spent serving with a church in Monterrey, San Andres, where we have already been welcomed with incredible hospitality by their pastor, Martín, and many others. Those of us who served on last year’s Mexico mission team were grateful to see familiar faces. The students inserted themselves into the work and were unafraid of what was to come, regardless of whether they were part of last year’s mission or not. Our days at San Andres are filled with laughter and smiles as we play with the children. Even in the frustration of the language barrier we are still giving it our all, whether that is playing soccer with a bottle cap, painting on paper plates, climbing up trees, or simply being humbly taught by a child the language of their people. The kids do not know most of the people on our team but they are giving themselves fully and joyfully over to us and are welcomed guides in our new surroundings. It is our hope that we can continue to do the same for them.

While at San Andres, we have had the privilege of attending one of their church services. Martín was our preacher and he did the service in both English and Spanish. It was beautiful to see the ways in which our team participated in the liturgy. Many of us read prayers in Spanish and one of our teammates even helped serve communion.

Martín preached on John 14 in which Jesus preaches those who love Him will keep His word. During the service he asked us a question: If you saw Jesus Christ walking down the mountain with his cross would you help him? If we truly love God with all of our heart then we will care for his people well, every person of every place and status. In Christ we know everyone we meet has His image in them, and we are together with all people, one Body, one family. I pray that my team continues to see Christ in Mexico’s people, for they are our brothers and sisters in Christ and our mission is for them.

Though it would be more than understandable for the people of Mexico to be hesitant toward we North Americans, they have instead been warmly hospitable to us. Our brothers and sisters here have invited us into their homes and to share meals at their tables. Even more generously, they have trusted us with the safety of their children. I pray that in return we can care for them well and honor them as they honor us with trust and respect. I pray that while we are here we can embody a faithful, fully-Christlike alternative to the ambivalence, fear, and hostility that too often characterizes North Americans’ disposition toward our Mexican neighbors. I pray that we can love them in the ways that Christ loves us. I pray that when we see Christ carrying his cross down a mountain we will go and help.

Dios te bendiga (God bless you)

From the Wesley’s Mission team  


STORM UPDATE FROM THE WESLEY

A little before 2am, Thursday, April 25th, I awoke to our power shutting off, and a raging storm outside our home. Gathering up flashlights, I checked my phone for the time and noticed missed Emergency Alerts warning of a tornado in my area until 2:15am. One room in our home is adorned in large bay windows stretching across the wall facing our backyard. As lightning flashed I could see the trees shaking violently, and the chaos of rain beating down. It wasn’t until 5am we were alerted of the true state of emergency. In the dark of the morning, I drove to The Wesley Foundation, having to maneuver around downed trees and power lines. Debris filled the streets, especially once I approached campus. The Wesley building, however, was untouched. I stood for a moment there in the dark, listening to sirens and the sound of water splashing off tires as they drove by. For a moment, all was dark and calm and quiet. After an hour of finding my way on streets cleared of trees and debris, I arrived at a home where three students of the Wesley laid, on couches and air mattresses, visibly shaken and exhausted. I listened to them tell me how they had woken to their roof being ripped off their home, one waking just to see a large limb pierce her ceiling, jutting right over the head of her bed. The three scrambled to find their hiding cat, and ventured into the streets which were now rivers of trees to be brought to a safe home. We cried and prayed and finally, learned soon of fatalities mere blocks away from their home. Still, it wasn’t until daybreak any of us knew what we were dealing with.  

Driving - or attempting to drive - through Ruston that morning I continually exclaimed, “Oh my gosh!” Home after home, now I know a whopping 1,300 homes at least, were utterly destroyed by winds and trees. Buildings and businesses simply gone, a pile of twisted metal and glass. Brick walls torn down as though they had just melted away. Houses blown off their foundations. Mid-morning, after hours of damage intake, overwhelming scenes of destruction and loss, I stood in a street of trees, the noise of people and chainsaws and sirens still all around, but all went still again it seemed.

Mightier than the thunders of many waters,

   mightier than the waves of the sea,

   the Lord on high is mighty!

[Psalm 93:4]

It makes little sense to me that these verses came to mind. It makes little sense when staring at the force which twisted trees out of their rooted ground, which flung entire buildings backwards, and which stripped brick wall bare, how the Lord is mighty--mightier. Yet that chorus rang through my mind all day.

I saw the Lord’s might that Thursday, not solely in the wielding of winds, thunder and lightning. Not only in his ordering them to cease and to go no further, to do no further damage than was made. I saw the Lord’s might not even in non-literal comparison, the hopeful and even faithful declaration of knowledge that He is mightier still than this tornado. I saw the Lord’s might in drones of people, mostly Christians, responding to their neighbors grief and needs. I saw in no small measure that the people of God are a force to be reckoned with, and the church, though at times idle and silent and still, still has a lot of fight and life left in her. Thousands of ordinary Christians took the lead in establishing teams to aid in the recovery efforts of homes, business, and campus. Thousands of Christians put aside differences of denominations, political opinions, race, gender, and the like. They stood hand in hand in the yard of a neighbor-- mostly neighbors they had never met or known-- and prayed. They gave up their resources to ensure others didn’t go without. Food business and groups took to the streets with meals for first responders. By lunch-time Thursday more alumni and out of town Christians asked how to help than I had places or needs to yet put them. Hundreds came to a volunteer meeting at a local church, city officials included. City officials looked to the church, because the church did not wait for permission to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Miles of tree-covered streets were cleared in a matter of hours. Trees as big around as 4-5 feet were removed from homes with small chain saws and a multitude of able-bodied friends. Homes were opened up to welcome the refugee. Without sermon or charge, the Church embodied the Church. We became to ourselves the sermon, the witness, the proof that, though illogical as it seems, “Mightier...is the Lord.”

By Friday, the three students whose home was destroyed were moved into a new home. Their cat was sleeping in tempered sunlight on the foot of one of their beds. Their fridge and pantry was full of gifted food. Paintings were going up on the wall. By Friday evening, staff and students were in the midst of the damaged, electricity-less LA Tech apartments serving burgers and providing a space of laughter, joy, and feeding hungry bellies. Saturday thousands gathered to serve once again.

The Lord has shaped the Body of believers at Wesley to preach with their lives the sermon they displayed this past week. The sermon which proclaims to the desperate, needy and hopeless, “Mightier is the Lord.” Dozens of ordinary students, gathered around the Table on Friday morning; they took the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Together we prayed the Lord would make us be for the world the Church. I smiled that morning knowing we already are being for the world the Church. And by living it out we are becoming it, more and more.

Thank each of you for your care, prayers, and concern for our Wesley community last week. We are deeply thankful and deeply loved.


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Update by Kaiti Lammert, Associate Director of The Wesley Foundation on May 1st, 2019

An Alumni’s Reflection

As a student at the Wesley Foundation, one of the hardest things I had to do every year was say goodbye to dear friends and mentors as they prepared to move on. It began as I realized that I was experiencing their “lasts.” The last Retreat, the last Well, the last Engage Group… Inevitably, these “lasts” would run out and time was up. All I could do was join the rest of community as we came together in tears and embraces just as the Ephesians did when Paul gave them his final words before departing (Acts 20:37). Though they were young, these dear friends had been used by God in Pauline ways for His work in the Wesley Foundation. They taught me His Word by both speech and action, were there in my brightest days and darkest nights, and showed me, whether intentionally or not, how the kingdom of Heaven could be found in friendship. Our lives had been permanently woven together in ways that truly seemed sacramental. To watch them leave left me with a sense of loss that lingers to this day.

        Watching people move on from the Wesley was always accompanied by the thought of my own departure. I knew that I would leave one day, but I did my best to ignore those thoughts. I did not want to think about leaving the community where I had seen the Spirit moving so tangibly and where I had found such amazing Christian friends. The Wesley was a place where Christianity was alive in ways that I didn’t know were possible until I found myself caught up in God’s work there. It was there that I learned about Jesus and his character, discovered my love for the church, and experienced God’s calling into a life of ministry. More than that, I knew that I was just a continuation of something God had been doing at Louisiana Tech University long before I got there. The Wesley’s story spans multiple decades and generations of disciples. My own experience there was just one small piece of the mosaic of a beautiful, fruitful ministry. How could I be OK knowing that I would leave that ministry and head out on a mission to a world that has always been unkind to those who would follow The Way?

        Despite my fears of the future and my desire to stay in Ruston, my time to leave the Wesley came. Thankfully, I was not going to be moving to a new place entirely alone. My girlfriend and now fiancée, Emily, a fellow student and intern at Wesley, had already moved to North Carolina, where we would be attending seminary together. This brought me great comfort and joy and I became hopeful that maybe leaving would not be so bad after all. As I navigated my way through my final hangouts, I did my best to stay strong and offer as many “We’ll see each other again soon”s as I could. Suddenly, it was all over, and I was driving a U-Haul to North Carolina with no one but my cat, Chester, to accompany me. As the interstate miles passed, I became more and more aware of yet another sense of loss taking shape within my soul. However, this time, it felt more final.

        In the months since I left and settled into life away from my home community, a few thoughts have been pressing against my soul. First, I have become convinced that seminary is one of the most difficult places in the world to maintain any semblance of Christian worship. In an environment where the living story of God’s work is treated academically, answers such as “Because Jesus said so” and “I am not sure, but I have faith in God” have become increasingly unacceptable. Once caught up in the never-ending quest to answer questions no one is asking, it is easy to forget how to stand in awe of God, or even how to be in love with Him. When I sit through lectures that seem intent on stifling all manifestations of the Spirit, I simply cannot help but remember our Bible studies or Wesley staff meetings where we would discuss Scripture or a number of books and articles we were given to read. Do not get me wrong; I love studying the Bible and the writings of Saints throughout the history of the Church. I just believe that Christian study is perhaps most fruitful when it is done within the love and care of the Christian community whose goal is first and foremost to bring glory to God’s name. The Wesley taught me to study in that way; through faith and out of love and desire to know more of God’s character.

Secondly, I think true friendships may be one of the rarest treasures to be found in the world. I mean real, brave friendships that focus on calling each other deeper into relationship with Christ; friendships based on Christ-like love and honest confession and repentance. These are friendships that are moved and formed by something much deeper than human attraction. They are reflections of the Heavenly love Jesus teaches us through the Spirit. They are not rare in the sense that they are not around. They are rare in the sense that not many people seem very interested in having them. These kinds of friendships were gifted to me at Wesley, though I did not truly understand what I had until I moved away and missed them.

It has been easy for me to fall into despair over all of this. However, God rarely seems to think of despair as helpful. It has been in these dark times that God has come to me with great comfort and strength, using the very memories that were the source of my tears to give me strength. The formation I received at Wesley in reading and interpreting Scripture has shaped the way I write and read here at Divinity School. Though I find myself challenged at times, I think back to the countless bible studies and worship services I experienced and rediscover a deep Well of safety and trust in Jesus’ teachings. Because of this, I feel able to see and trust in God’s presence in Divinity School. Though Christian companionship has been hard to come by, I remember a time where I had no idea what true community looked like. I needed Wesley students and interns to step into my life in a radical way and show me by example. I realize now that the time I have spent in community at Wesley has equipped me to boldly stand out in the world and invite people into those same relationships regardless of whether I fear rejection or not.

        My time at Wesley gave me the most intentional and serious Christian formation I could have asked for. However, it was given with the intention that I would leave and move on. God has called us all to shine as lights in a dark and lonely world. That is easy to understand when you are surrounded by other lights. When there are just a few of you, however, the darkness seems deeper and more pressing. Burn anyway, Jesus says. Burn so that all may be lit. I have learned these past few months that the experience of a Christian community is a gift, not a right. The Wesley was gifted to me and so many other believers so that we might learn how to burn before being sent out to those who have no light.

If you are still at home in your Christian community, cherish every moment of it for as long as you can.

If you have been sent out and often feel you burn alone, know that others are with you.

And if you are a student at Louisiana Tech University who would like to know that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand…The Well is Tuesdays at 7 and Laid Back Lunch is Thursdays from 11-2.


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Trevor Blair

Trevor Blair is an aspiring preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He currently attends Duke Theological Seminary where he is earning his Masters of Divinity. Trevor enjoy The Office, hiking, and his new fiancé, Emily Hamil. At his time at Wesley, Trevor was a zealous and faithful member of the community, leadership teams, and mission teams.

Racism as the Church's Problem Pt. 2

Racism as the Church's Problem Pt. 2

I share all of this because I want you to know what it’s like for me to be a part of the Body of Christ, to go to church and to be in relationship with the Christians around me at any given moment. There are entire generations of Christians who have grown up and died and before they died raised up other generations not clothed in Christ or the new self but in racist systems and mindsets, in the low thoughts and earthly passions of the old self. When you go to church on Sunday (and you should; if I can, there’s no good reason why you can’t), I want you to take note of your experience compared to mine. I want you to remember what I suffer; I think this is a faithful request, for before Paul called us to remember his chains, Christ Himself called us to remember the suffering He endured first and endured for us.

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Racism as the Church's Problem

Racism as the Church's Problem

If you call yourself a Christian, racism is your problem. Racism is your problem because I call myself a Christian, and it’s my problem, and you and I and all Christians are members of the same Body, and Paul tells you in Hebrews to remember those who are mistreated, since you are also in the Body (13:3). Racism is your problem because people who also count themselves as members of this Body and call themselves Christians practice racism right now, every day, long after racism has been declared “dead” by the world and longer after the Greek and Jew, slave and free have been declared one in Christ by Christ. Racism is your problem because racism boldly, blatantly, and shamelessly rejects everything to which we’re called as Christians. Racism is your problem because it flies in the face of the new self for the sake of the fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, greed, anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive language, and lies of the old self.  Racism is your problem because parts of our Body think it isn’t their problem, and those Christians need a faithful witness.

Racism is your problem because you are part of Christ’s Body, and Christ has witnessed that this is His problem. Its Christ’s problem when He asks a Samaritan woman for a drink of water and she responds, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” for Jews did not share things in common with Samaritans--yet Jesus was making all things new, all things shared and in common among those who believe in Him (John 4). Racism is Christ’s problem when He tells us to do not as the Hebrews do, who see a stranger naked and beaten and abandoned and pass him by, but as the Samaritan man does, who sees this stranger, naked and beaten and abandoned, and has mercy on him (Luke 10). Racism is a Christian problem because Christians are failing in the world and in the Church to acknowledge that racism is a problem and because Christians are failing in the world and in the Church to stop being the problem.

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