We've had a wild start to the wilderness that Christians have often used to describe Lent... at the beginning of the month, not long after Ash Wednesday, while several UKirk students were away on spring break doing volunteer work or visiting family, there were multiple tornados in Nashville. It was a very scary night for our city, and there will be months of work to do in order to fully recover... thankfully, the students who were in town were not in the path of the storm, and it doesn't seem that any of the colleges took a direct hit. Many students, in fact, have been giving to the city's relief efforts.
Not even a week after that though, we began receiving announcements about all the different closures caused by precautions surrounding COVID-19. It seemed like every day, even every hour there was a new closure or announcement. Where we stand now is: Vanderbilt students have already been sent home for the remainder of the semester and Belmont may come back next month to finish a few weeks of the semester, but that's not for certain. Since these schools are where we are official student organizations, essentially all of our physical, in person programming will be cancelled. And all of this news has been devastating, on so many levels, but we've seen a lot of bright spots, too--even students having to move out of their dorms quickly were able to donate some items they couldn't get home to people in need in Nashville. And we'll be doing our best to continue the programming we had planned but online through emails, our social media accounts, this blog, text messages, and whatever seems to work. Our in person programming is cancelled, but UKirk is still, very much, here for you! So, we encourage you to follow us however you like.
Today, we would've normally met for a coffee break, which means we'd be reading a psalm together or, more likely, chatting about current events. Here are some ways to do both using Psalm 23... Write it in your own words--this is a great way to check in on how you're feeling without having to think too hard! Write whatever comes to mind (there's an example in the second photo). Nothing is too silly or too serious. Perhaps simpler, but maybe more artsy, you can do what some people call "block out poetry" with the text: write the text down or print it out, and then "block out" some words, and see what you have--there are no wrong answers (and there's an example of this in the third photo). If you're not feeling Psalm 23, there's a different psalm on the UKirk Daily app today (and everyday). Coffee is not required to participate, but tell us what you come up with, if you feel so inclined. We hope this short practice and others we provide in the coming weeks will help you to feel connected to God, yourself, and each other. Holler if we can be helpful. There is a lot to be anxious about these days, but there's a lot of love and joy and courage and empathy to be had, too.