One More Day

I am sitting here, in the middle of the afternoon, with my study guide for my last final of the semester complete. My eyes are heavy, my mouth hurts, my entire body aches, and I need to memorize 130 terms. It is very weird to be sitting here without a paper to write. It is a new experience. I’m not sure how I will be able to handle it.

I am a child of 90s pop music and I cannot lie

I forgot to mention something about my final yesterday in History. It turns out that every topic I wrote about started, or involved, the letter M in some way. I did not mean to do that, it just happened. Someone recommended that I send my professor an email to give him a title for my piece. I was thinking either “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm: The Dummies of Purity” or either “MMM-Bop: The Exclusion Brothers”.

Sometimes my titles are better than my essays.


I just finished my last class of the semester by doing a short presentation on Paul’s use of the Hebrew Bible in Romans Chapter 10 and his exegetical work on Deuteronomy 30. I’m not gonna lie – it’s kinda wacky. And the class broke out laughing when I said “It’s the BUT that is important”. The sad part isn’t that they laughed – the sad part is that it took me a minute to realize why they were laughing. My brain is ready to be done.

I have my Hebrew final at 2. Time to pretend I know the paradigms for weak verbs.

So Much to Write, So Little Time

Oh boy.

It is finals time here at Chez LTSP which means my finals started before my last class begins. My first final was this afternoon for History of Christianity. It went fine – I wrote for 2.5 hours about whey the Lutheran church is doing a poor job with evangelicalism towards Mexican-Americans. The fact that the Spanish Language Worship resource released by the ELCA does not include Lady of Guadeloupe as a festival (I believe) was my whole theme. And I somehow connected that to the rise of Monasticism in the 200s CE, the Margburg Conference of 1529 between Luther and Zwingli, and the Missionary Conference of 1910. Why did I pick those 3 things to discuss? One of the requirements of the exam was to take one event in the “early”, “reformation”, and “modern” church period and write about it while reflecting on three different quotations. I also had fifteen minutes after receiving the question to look at my notes. After reading the entire 1.5 page question, the first three events I noticed in my notes for all three of those sections were the three I ended up writing about. How many people in that class wrote on the Marburg Conference? Yeah, that’s right – only me because I am that awesome. I just hope my argument in the exam was relatively plausible and made sense. I also decided to write in backward chronological order to try and be a little different. This is what I get for spending only 15 minutes studying for this exam. And I also just figured out that I misspelled Guadeloupe at least a dozen times in the exam. I am a terrible Mexican-American.

So why did I only spend 15 minutes studying for my history final? Well! I am glad you asked because I have been struggling with, and writing a paper, for my Old Testament course You think that writing 8000 words on 13.5 verses of Ruth would be hard but you would be wrong. I could have written more (because I am that long winded). I finished it and printed it out exactly 12 hours before it is due. And, while writing it, I realized that I do not understand how to use tenses correctly. This is something that I need to work on.

So the rest of my night will be devoted to learning hebrew verb paradigms, specifically 1-aleph weak verbs. And I might try to figure out imperatives as well. I really have no idea what those are. Eep.

Bus Olympics

Trying to effectively use the restroom on the bus, especially when someone is sitting right in front of the bathroom entrance with their laptop, during rapid-fire, ridiculous, stop-and-go-traffic, while being driven by a bus driver who does not believe in gradual acceleration or deceleration, should be an Olympic sport. 2012 National Team right here.

I led Vesper worship tonight

Tonight I led an informal vespers service at the chapel at LTSP. My friend Dan took care of the prayers of intercession and other prayers. I handled the homily. I was nervous going into it and my homily underwent 5 draft changes (and I was making changes up to the moment of show time) but it went well! Tonight, our reading was from John 1:35-42 since today is the feast day of Saint Andrew. Our hymns were Rejoice, Rejoice, All Believers (ELW 244) and By All Your Saints (ELW 420). And I think it was the shortest tuesday night vespers so far – we were out in exactly 20 minutes. We were missing our usual 3rd hymn but, really, we just went through it. I hope all the people who need to write papers tonight appreciate that.

I’ll paste my homily/reflection/etc in this post. To be honest, I still haven’t figured out exactly what a homily is but I think I did okay.

Tuesday, November 30 St. Andrew’s Feast Day

I was a junior in college, in a dining hall, enjoying something extremely unhealthy, when my identical twin brother spotted me from across the room. With his tray of food, he hurried over, and I could see that he was dying to share something with me. He sat down and over greasy pizza, burgers, and fries, he broke down his new plan on what to do after graduation. He laid out, enthusiastically, and in detail, that we as a society are at the cusp of a revolution in food creation and production and he wanted to be involved in it. For him, this was a moment reminiscent of the “plastics” scene from the movie The Graduate. This new future ‚Äì a future where fish could be cheaper, more plentiful, and its production more ecologically sound than chicken ‚Äì was what he wanted to jump into. My brother spoke with passion, with drive, with energy, and with power. He had even sketched out a business plan! And as I chewed and munched on my food, it took everything in my power to not roll my eyes as hard as I could. This wasn’t the first dream or vision that my brother had shared with me. And it wasn’t the last. Since we were very little, this dreaming aspect of my brother has been a part of who he is. He is much more of the entrepreneur and the schemer than I am. So, in our gospel reading for today, when I see Andrew coming to his brother Simon, I cannot help but see this episode through the lens of my own experience as a brother, as a participant in the dreams of my own brother, and as a brother who has heard many stories, many dreams, and many many schemes about what is the next big revolution that we need to latch onto, right now. Was this really the first time that Andrew shared his passion with Simon? From my own experience, I find that difficult to believe because entrepreneurs and dreamers rarely ever have just one dream.

And, to me, this is who Andrew is. He is described by the author of John as a disciple of John the Baptist ‚Äì Andrew is listening to that voice in the wilderness, listening to that call from God, listening to that teacher crying out for a return to God to make right that relationship that was grounded in the experience of the Exodus, the prophets, the Torah, and the Writings of Scripture. And when John the Baptist speaks, Andrew listens. John sees Jesus and cries out that this Jesus is the Lamb of God! And Andrew pays attention. This announcement wakes him up and he, along with an unnamed disciple, follow Jesus from a distance. And when they are given the chance to meet with Jesus, to spend the day with him, to dwell with the Incarnated One, they do not turn it down. And Andrew doesn’t just stay with Jesus. Instead, he goes out to share what he has heard, what he has seen, and what he has witnessed. Andrew is the first named disciple of Christ and the first disciple to share the news of Jesus to others. And his first target of that sharing isn’t the King, it isn’t the Roman rulers or a learned religious teacher. He doesn’t return to his neighborhood synagogue or to John or to the gates of his city to talk to the passerby, the poor, or the mighty. Instead, he finds his brother and tells him to come and see Jesus.
And Simon does.

It is the dreamers who become the first disciples of Christ. It is these entrepenuering individuals who are first called by Jesus to come and stay with him. But Jesus doesn’t stay in that limited world. He is not to be merely circulated among those who are already looking for and striving for a different world. Andrew doesn’t stay with Jesus. He goes out and brings Simon! And this, to me, is the first step in the inclusiveness of God’s call and God’s grace. This is a grace that is not contained among one group of people but is open to others. It would be nice if I could identify with Andrew and imagine myself as being among those who would have been the very first called to Jesus Christ. But I know that this isn’t true. There is already an Andrew-type person in my life and even though we share the same DNA, the same parents, the same background, and many of the same experiences, I am not Andrew. My brother is. But Jesus is open to me too. This, for me, is part of the miracle that is grace ‚Äì that this grace is so big, so vast, and so wide, that I am included too.

So, on this feast day of Andrew the Apostle, after the holiday of Thanksgiving and at this start of Advent, as I and all of us await Christ’s entrance into the world in His birth through Mary, I thank God for the gift of brothers who are always scheming, dreaming, and who are never content with just everyday things. May they continue to call us and open us towards our Gracious God, towards God’s ways, and to teach us all to proclaim and dwell with God’s greatest gift ‚Äì our crucified and Risen Lord.