This year, the intensive classes on campus really started to wear me down. We have to take 10 credits on campus. Since our classes are worth either .5 or 1 credit, that translates to at least 10 classes, if not more. For me, this has meant a total of eight trips to campus so far, with two more remaining for 2018.
To get my credits in, I had to take 2 classes on campus in the summer of 2017. This meant two weeks away from home. Thankfully, several incredible things happened for my summer trip that brightened my mood.
First, members of my church, friends, and family generously donated to a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for my summer trip. As you can imagine paying for travel, housing, food, and everything else adds up. So, all of these trips to campus start to become expensive the longer you’re in school. I am forever grateful to all of those who gave to help make my summer intensive semester possible.
Second, my husband was able to come with me for the first week. Our lovely friend Beth watched our cats and our house for us while we were gone. My husband and I stayed at a reasonably priced AirBnB that was only $10 a night more than staying on campus, but it included multiple rooms and a kitchen.
Aside from these two great aspects of the trip, the two classes I took ended up being life changing. I took two classes with the same professor. One was on the art of worship in the church. The second was on life passages, including funerals.
Our worship class culminated in small groups designing and leading worship for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. We weren’t roleplaying or making mock, theatrical versions of these three services. Instead, we entered into that season as a class and truly worshipped together.
My group was in charge of Good Friday. Each of us in the group brought different musical and artistic gifts that the Holy Spirit worked through to create a moving event.
The three services were beautiful to experience. I remember waking up that following Sunday and thinking, “Today is Easter”. Suddenly, I felt how we live in Easter, and through the Resurrection of Christ, Easter it is our daily reality.
After a powerful week in the worship class, I was excited to continue with the same professor to learn about the life passages that we honor in the Church such as baptism, weddings, and funerals. For this class, each of us had to create a small memorial service of some kind and present it to the group.
At the end of the week, I returned home having developed a deeper understanding of worship and ritual in the Church.