This is my first Thanksgiving week at Baptist University of the Américas. Although I am new to the BUA family and am learning about the culture of this University, I am familiar with Christian higher education from my time as a student at another private Texas Baptist school.
BUA hosted the annual Thanksgiving Chapel Service on Tuesday. I have attended various university Thanksgiving services, but the BUA annual Thanksgiving Chapel on Tuesday was a different experience for me.
There was an intimacy and authenticity that could not easily be overlooked. My spirit was blessed and my heart was touched.
One by one, students, faculty and staff stood and articulated in a word (or a few words) their heartfelt expressions of gratitude:
“I thank God for his spirit, which resonates in this atmosphere.”
“Peace that comes through anxiety, and joy that comes through depression.”
“God getting me through this semester. Without him, I couldn’t have made it.”
“Students at BUA that make my life more joyful every day.”
“Clean water, food, blankets, beds and homes.”
“My wife and baby.”
“Peace in the waiting.”
“New friends and family at BUA.”
In many ways, God is using BUA. This is a place where students find home, family, fellowship and future. “I wasn’t expecting to get anything much from here other than an education,” said a student at the back of the room. “But I got a family.”
Similarly, a nontraditional student said, “I thank the Lord for giving me a new family. I always had my family at church, and now I have a family at BUA.”
BUA is not a church, but the Church – people who love Christ and serve him – are here. It can be seen in the daily rhythms at the school.
The community also proclaimed thanksgiving through taking communion together, singing together the words of Behold the Lamb:
And so with thankfulness and faith we rise to respond – and to remember Our call to follow in the steps of Christ as His body here on earth.
This season, and always, I am thankful to God for working in this place and through the BUA family.