Why are you here?

Greetings Family and Friends!

Fall semester 2018 is off and running— and there is already so much to share! Libby and I moved into our new home. Our pets are settling into a new space and a new routine. And I am finally on campus, which invites questions. And it is predominantly this question: “Why are you here?”

It is a fair question. I am not an Eastern University faculty member or staff, and it is very obvious that I am not a typical undergraduate student. What would a thirty-year-old man be doing on a first-year student camping trip? Or in the cafe on campus? “Why are you here?”

I am reminded of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman in John 4. She asks Jesus “How do you, a Jew, ask me, a woman of Samaria, for a drink?” It is a question that stems from uncertainty and more than a dash of suspicion. Her unspoken question: “Why are you here?”

My answer has some routine facts, such as a brief description of my role with the CCO and Church of the Good Samaritan, as well as an invitation to our Wednesday Night Family Dinner gathering. Yet, the core of my answer is always “I’m here because I want to know you.” The initial response seems to be more suspicion, as was the Samaritan woman’s. But the joy is that many of the students who asked this question still came to our first Family Dinner of the school year, and again the following week. 

The invitation to be known breeds both suspicion and curiosity, but like Jesus, our desire to know them because they bear God’s image dispels that suspicion and rewards that curiosity. To paraphrase the Samaritan woman when she returned to her village, my prayer is that the students I meet return to campus and say to their friends “Come, see a group that wants to know all about me. Can this be the Church? Can this be Jesus?”

Will you pray with me that our weekly gathering, Family Dinner, will continue to be a welcoming space where people come to know and be known, and witness the transforming love of the Body of Christ?

Thank you all for your interest, prayers and financial support. You are integral in the transformation of these college students.