Recently, the choir of Wake Forest Baptist Church collaborated to put together exam treat bags for all the students who attend church here. Much thought and preparation went into creating these with some bags customized for dietary restrictions or preferences. As I attempted to pass out the remaining bags recently, I was surprised to hear students questioning if they really ought to take the treats “Are you sure I can take one?”, “Is there one for me?” several students asked me unsure of whether I really wanted them to take a bag. Despite my invitation to everyone to take a bag, they still needed assurance that one of these bags was meant for them. I looked at each one who asked and said, “Yes, take a bag, one of these is for you.”
In this particular time and place, people need reassurance that someone sees them, not as a number, a grade, or a roster spot, but that someone knows their name and what snacks might comfort them during a stressful time. These days, college campuses are full of opportunities. Internships, advanced classes, and extracurricular activities abound. Religious engagement opportunities also exist with classes, dialogue events, and even worship services.
However, there is not much opportunity to be part of a permanent grounded community built out of more than convenience and resume-building impetus. Who will check in on you during busy times? Who will call you out of the infamous bubble and remind you of the larger community? Who will remember that you prefer savory snacks or that the flavor you really need to taste is a traditional Columbian sweet that reminds you of home? For some of the students at WFBC, their relationship with the church started out as an opportunity for a job or an internship. However, as we grow in relationship with those students and the campus as a whole, our best offering is not merely to be another line on a resume, but to be a presence of heart and caring in the midst of all the pressure of a campus environment.
TODAY’S ADVENT ACTION: Let someone today know that you “see” them. A server, a cashier, a neighbor. Make a heart connection wherever you are.