A Sunday Afternoon Walk

Brothers and sisters,

This past Sunday, I had a unique opportunity. Normally, on the first Sunday of each month, we our Deacons meet to discuss our ministry together and how we can best serve the church moving forward. But, this week we were unable to meet, deciding instead to post-pone our meeting until this coming Sunday, March 12th (P.S. To any deacons that didn’t know that—Deacons Meeting this Sunday at 2:00 PM). Since it was a perfect day outside, I decided to go for a walk in a familiar place—UNC’s campus.

I parked on Franklin Street and made my way to-ward Carolina, taking in the spring air and enjoying the day. As I stepped onto campus near Pettigrew Hall, so many memories came flooding back. I walked past the music department where I had taken some of my favorite classes. I passed Davie Poplar and the Old Well—icons of the university. I would have lingered at each, but Davie was surrounded by a group of young people doing team-building exercises for some kind of organization and there was a young woman doing a graduation photoshoot at the Old Well. Moving on past South Building, I passed Carolina Hall, which houses the Religious Studies department. And I couldn’t help but smile as I remembered all the time I spent in that building. I remembered the way I was challenged there. I remembered how my love for digging into religious texts and history was fostered there. It was wonderful.

I passed through the Pit and Student Stores next, taking in just how much Carolina merch you can buy these days! Some made sense—shirts, blankets, mugs, etc. Some made less sense, like cheerleader outfits for dogs (and yes, outfits—plural!). I managed to get out of there with some money left in my bank account and made my way down to South Campus, where I passed by my old dorms and reminisced about late nights with friends, late nights with book and papers, and afternoons spent throwing a frisbee around. And as I made my way back up to Franklin Street, I was reminded of the “hill” in Chapel Hill!

I tell you all that not as an advertisement for UNC or anything like that. I tell you all about that because I remember the feelings that came over me as I walked the campus. It was a feeling of being at home, a feeling of nostalgia as I walked familiar paths, and a feeling of joy as I passed students and wondered what incredible experiences they were having. It was a day to revisit a part of the story of my life that was just wonderful. And so I wanted to ask you all, where are the places you feel that kind of joy? Where are the places you experience that sense of being “at home”? Where are the places that help you reconnect with the story of your life? Where are the places you feel close to God?
Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben