“The church in a quite special way is the place where large dreams are entertained, songs are sung, boundaries are crossed, hurt is noticed, and the weak are honoured. The church has no monopoly on these matters. Its oddity, however, is that it takes this agenda as its peculiar and primary business. In all sorts of unnoticed places, it is the church that raises the human questions.” Walter Brueggemann from ‘The Counterworld of Evangelical Imagination’ 1993.
The quote captures something of why I think the Church is involved in many areas of life, including Higher Education. It is the Church’s “peculiar and primary business” to raise “the human questions.”
It might not be obvious which questions the religious practices are raising. I was thinking about the Wednesday Eucharist we hold in the parish church that sits between the university buildings. We are a group of about 10-15 drawn from the staff from the Colleges and local workplaces, students, one regular alumni, some parish members, me and the parish clergy.
The service involves the sharing of bread and wine. The Bruggemann quote reminded me of the continual exploration week by week of basic questions. These are just a few.
What is broken and what is whole?
How is one person related to the many?
What do we need to let go of in order to receive?
What might be worth a sacrifice?
What do I need to know and admit to myself and about myself?
Can these strangers be a gift to me?
the place where large dreams are entertained, songs are sung, boundaries are crossed, hurt is noticed, and the weak are honoured.