Where Do We Go From Here? 

This coming Saturday, Campus Edge Fellowship is hosting an event entitled: Where Do We Go From Here? A Conversation on Calling and Vocation for Graduate and Professional Students. It is open to all current MSU graduate and professional students – and to recent graduates as well. It centers around finding our calling as Christ followers in our individual contexts and careers. Here is the description of the event if you or someone you know might be interested in attending:

Where Do We Go From Here? A Conversation on Calling and Vocation for Graduate and Professional Students

Date: April 10

Time: 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Where: On-line via Zoom

Are you questioning your plans for graduate school or your post-graduation plans? Do you wonder if there might be more to life than the plans you already have in place? Are you losing sight of what you were meant to do because you are so busy pursuing what you think you should do?

In his book “Let Your Life Speak,” Parker Palmer addresses the idea of vocation, suggesting that we listen for the calling God has put on each of our lives in order to recognize the work that God has uniquely gifted us to do: 

Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen to what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.”

Campus Edge Fellowship invites you to an evening dedicated to exploring these questions of calling and vocation. This interactive event will feature a short talk about vocation by Lorelei Blackburn, guided reflective exercises, breakout room discussions, and a roundtable panel featuring five discussants who will help us consider the ways God may call us after graduate school–sometimes in unexpected directions and sometimes to the very places we planned to go. 

Email info@campusedge.com to register for the event. We’ll send you a Zoom link the day of the event. 

Lenten Reflections Week 7: Rest and Sabbath

Scripture: Genesis 2:1-3

Reflection: Often we look at humankind as the final and most important work of creation. After all, when God finished creating humankind, God looked at the whole world and called it “very good.” However, the scriptural account of creation does not end there. In his book “Living the Sabbath”, Norman Wirzba argues that the final act of creation was truly the creation of the Sabbath, the “rest, tranquility, serenity and peace of God” that all of creation is invited into. Passages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy echo this idea by reminding God’s people to “keep the Sabbath holy,” to refrain from work and to give their animals and land respite each week and every seven years. 

The Old Testament emphasizes the importance of Sabbath as a rhythm of life. It is included in the ten commandments, and honoring it sets God’s people up as examples to the nations. But Jesus helps us truly understand God’s intention for the Sabbath. When the disciples are chided for picking grain to eat Jesus tells the Pharisees, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Jesus reminds them that the Sabbath is not about a prescriptive act. It is not meant as a limitation, but a gift. It is a reminder to cease our busyness and to pause and contemplate God’s world in its vast array of beauty. Honoring Sabbath reminds us to set aside time to experience God’s life giving peace and to extend it to all of creation. 

Suggested action: As we head to Easter and the resurrection of life it represents, take some time to think about which of the suggested actions brought the most life into your week and prayerfully consider adding it to your daily or monthly routines. And because part of this exercise is about connection, to God, to creation and to others – consider inviting friends or family into the exercise with you. 

Suggested resources:  “To the Ends of the Earth” (Vimeo) and “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” and “An Inconvenient Truth” (both on Prime) and the books “Don’t Even Think About It” by George Marshall and “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas.

All film suggestions form from the PBS Independent Lens blog “Earthy Day Watch list: 17 Films About Sustainability and Climate Change” (with the exception of “Chasing Ice” and “Black Fish”  which are from other sources). All the listed movies offered as suggestions by CEF as starting points for discussion around sustainability and stewardship.  https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/blog/earth-day-watch-list-17-new-films-about-sustainability-climate-change/

Image: Artist and title unknown

Lenten Reflections Week 6: Humans and the Earth

Scripture: Genesis 1:24-31

Reflection: The word “created” is used sparingly in scripture with it most often referring to God’s work in creating the world. However, the first chapter of Genesis uses it five times. The chapter opens with a statement that God “created the heavens and the earth.” The birds and the fish get that special designation as “God created” as well. And finally, when the text talks about the creation of humankind it uses the word “created” three times. 

It is always important to look out for repetition in scripture. It means something. It always asks us to take a deeper look at what is being said. There is deep repetition in the verses that describe God’s creation of humanity. These verses remind us that God made us, that we are made in God’s image and that God chose to create humans in different sexes (plural) that reflect that image. But the repetition also does something more, it reminds us that we are in fact created beings. 

That “created-ness” should give us pause when we think of God’s mandate for us “to rule” over the other parts of God’s created world. It reminds us that like the earth and the sky, like the fish and the birds, we were created by God for a purpose. Our rulership is a positional one, not one of materiality. We are made of the same building blocks and atoms as the world around us and our origins all begin with the same Originator. But we are special because we are called to reflect our creator’s heart for the world, to care for and rejoice in everything that God declares “good.”


Suggested action: Buy fair-trade chocolate and coffee, and purchase sustainably-raised meat. Plan a garden that will provide habitat for birds and insects around your home: pollinator flowers or shrubs for shelter. If you are able, make a donation to an organization that works for justice for God’s creation such as A Rocha (https://www.arocha.org/en/) or choose one of the actions from the Climate Caretakers website (https://climatecaretakers.org/take-action).

Image: Katsushika Hokusai, “Peasants and Travelers in Autumn Landscape

Lenten Reflections Week 5: Birds, Sea Creatures

Scripture: Genesis 1:20-23

The image of God filling the sky and the waters with owls, flamingos, sparrows, tadpoles, starfish, whales, sea urchins and swans is a beautiful one. It is as if God looked at the blank canvas of the world and spread life and color across it, and called it good. 

The variety God created is so vast that we are still discovering new birds and new sea creatures on a yearly basis. In fact scientists estimate we have only discovered 20% of the world’s life forms, and have only explored 5% of the sea. But the reality is that we are losing species faster than we are finding them – in fact some of the newly discovered species went directly on the endangered species lists. Knowing about them helps scientists preserve them, but we can be a part of that preservation process by lessening our impact on the environment around us. 

The book of Matthew tells us about how much God cares about everything God created. Jesus reminds his disciples of God’s care for them by reminding them of God’s love for His creation. He says to them, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care” (Matthew 10:29).

The truth is that we are all in God’s care, as are the birds, insects, amphibians and fish. We are all woven into the fabric and splendor of God’s world and with each strand we lose we miss out on a glimpse of God’s handiwork and the beauty and whimsy of the diversity of the world we live in. God cares for all of it and calls for us to do the same.

Suggested action: This week use reusable bags, try making your own cleaning products with vinegar, water and baking soda, and try using cotton cloths instead of paper towels. Avoid take-out food. Plan to purchase ecostrips for your laundry, and shampoo and soap in bars rather than liquid soaps and shampoo. Consider alternatives for coffee, tea and snacks that use a lot of packaging.

Suggested resources: Two films –  “Black Fish” (Netflix) and “The Memory of Fish” (Prime) and check out these two links for examples of fish and birds that have been recently discovered: 

https://www.audubon.org/news/10-new-birds-described-biggest-avia-discovery-more-century

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/22202733/2020-new-species

All film suggestions form from the PBS Independent Lens blog “Earthy Day Watch list: 17 Films About Sustainability and Climate Change” (with the exception of “Chasing Ice” and “Black Fish”  which are from other sources). All the listed movies offered as suggestions by CEF as starting points for discussion around sustainability and stewardship.  https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/blog/earth-day-watch-list-17-new-films-about-sustainability-climate-change/

Image: M.C. Escher, “5th Day of Creation”

Lenten Reflections Week 4: Sun, Moon and Stars

Scripture: Genesis 1:14-19

On the fourth day of creation God created the sun, moon and stars. With that act, God also created our means of tracking days, staying warm and feeling a sense of wonder when we look at the night sky. In most early cultures the sun, moon and stars were worshiped. They were given names, festivals and sacrifices. But the book of Genesis points to a different truth – that God created and controls the lights in the sky and that those lights do not control us, at least not in the way early cultures understood them. They still play a huge role in our lives. The moon controls the tides, the stars help us navigate and understand the vastness of the galaxy and the sun warms our planet and causes things to grow…by God’s design. 

In our day to day lives it is easy to believe that we are no longer as dependent on those heavenly bodies, and therefore less dependent on their creator. Electricity has reduced our need to pattern our days on the sun and moon’s movements. It has also in some ways pulled our eyes from the wonder of the heavens by giving us flashing screens and new worlds to contemplate on our phones, TV’s, tablets and computers. We are less likely to “consider the heavens” as Psalm 8 suggests that we do. We are less likely to remember the glory of the God that created us, created the galaxy – and who called it good. If you have time this week, read through Psalm 8 and take a walk outside in sunshine and look up at the starry night sky. Let the heavens remind you of God’s love and care.

Suggested action: During this week, try to eliminate as much electricity from your life as possible. Light only the area in a room that you need for your activities, and only the room that you are in. Try a week with no Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, television, or Youtube cat videos…instead try candlelit dinners, use your phone only at a set time each day, use a drying rack instead of your dryer, unplug appliances when not in use, and turn off lights when not in the room. Instead of TV or social media, take a walk, play a board game with a housemate or family member, have a virtual “coffee time” with a friend on the phone, read a book, plant something, or start a new hobby. 

Suggested film: “To the Ends of the Earth” (https://vimeo.com/ondemand/endsofearthfilm) and “The Future of Energy: Lateral Power of the People” (Amazon Prime)

Action suggestions are from: “A Fast for the Earth: Lent 2021 a resource created by The Bishop’s Committee on Creation Care Diocese of Toronto”

All film suggestions form from the PBS Independent Lens blog “Earthy Day Watch list: 17 Films About Sustainability and Climate Change” (with the exception of “Chasing Ice” and “Black Fish”  which are from other sources). All the listed movies offered as suggestions by CEF as starting points for discussion around sustainability and stewardship.  https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/blog/earth-day-watch-list-17-new-films-about-sustainability-climate-change/

Image: Edvard Munch, “The Sun”

Lenten Reflections Week 3: Plants and Trees

Scripture: Genesis 1:9-13

Reflection: On the third day of creation God created land, seas and vegetation. I remember sort of skipping past this day when I was a kid when I read the story of creation. The stars and animals in the following days that caught much more of my imagination and attention. But now being older and wiser, I realize the incredible value, complexity and beauty that can be found in plants and trees around us. It was no mistake that God made plants and trees before the animals and humans that would need them for sustenance and shelter. We literally could not survive without them. Plants and trees feed us, they pull carbon-dioxide from the air, they give us oxygen, hold soil in place, they push nutrients into the ground, they provide shade and protection, we use them for clothing, bedding, furniture and for enjoyment.

God designed us to need them and also instructed us to cultivate them and care for them. But somewhere along the line in our modernized world we have lost connection with them. We think in terms of products and profits, and can lose sight of God’s provision for us through them.

Suggested action: This week, try to avoid all food waste. Instead plan your meals for the coming week and purchase only the food that you need for those meals. Use a shopping list so that you don’t buy food you already have. Store food properly. Use wilted vegetables and fruit for soups or smoothies, or freeze them before they go bad. Use leftover bread for breadcrumbs. For other suggestions on simple ways to cut back, check out 20 Ways to Reduce Food Waste: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/reduce-food-waste

Suggested resources: Two films, “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman” (Amazon Prime) and “Kiss the Ground” (email CEF for a link to view it for free or visit https://kissthegroundmovie.com/) and “The Green Bible” NRSV (Zondervan).

Action suggestions are from: “A Fast for the Earth: Lent 2021 a resource created by The Bishop’s Committee on Creation Care Diocese of Toronto”

All film suggestions are from the PBS Independent Lens blog “Earthy Day Watch list: 17 Films About Sustainability and Climate Change” (with the exception of “Chasing Ice” and “Black Fish”  which are from other sources). All the listed movies offered as suggestions by CEF as starting points for discussion around sustainability and stewardship.  https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/blog/earth-day-watch-list-17-new-films-about-sustainability-climate-change/

Image: Georgia O’Keefe, “Autumn Leaves”

Lenten Reflections: Week 2 – Water

Scripture: Genesis 1:6-8

Reflection: On the second day of creation God spoke the water and sky into being. I love the image of God’s breath becoming the water that gives us life, that makes up over 60% of our bodies and over 70% of the surface of our world. Water gives us life. Very little on our planet exists without it and is untouched by it. And when God created it, God called it “good.”

One of the themes of scripture is that water brings life. The Psalms use water as an image for our longing and need for God (Psalm 1:3, Psalm 23:2, Psalm 63:1). Jesus also uses that language and idea when describing our need for Him: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water”” (John 7:37). Water is necessary. We need it to survive and if we do not have it our bodies scream out for it. We are dependent on it. Just as we are dependent on God for our life and being. Water is both a life giving gift from God and reminder of our need for Christ and for the life He gives us. 

God’s creation is dependent on water as well, and God has positioned us as co-creators and carers for that creation. When water is depleted, poisoned or degraded, neither we nor creation can experience its life giving properties. It ceases to be a picture of God’s sustaining grace. It’s easy to take water for granted, especially when we live or work in places where it’s readily accessible. But if we remember that every molecule and crystal of it comes from God’s own words and will, how do we begin to think about caring for it differently?

Suggested action: If you have unlimited clean water, try to reduce your water use, and save energy by using cold instead of hot. Try to spot-clean clothing so that it doesn’t have to be washed as often, and wash only full loads of laundry. Set the timer for 5 minute showers, and turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Instead of using the hot water setting on your washing machine, wash your laundry in cold water. Consider taking a walk near your local body of water and thinking of the ways that water sustains the world around it and the way God sustains us.

Suggested resources: Chasing Coral (Netflix) or Chasing Ice (Prime) and the book “Climate for Change” by Katherine Hayhoe

Action suggestions are from: “A Fast for the Earth: Lent 2021 a resource created by The Bishop’s Committee on Creation Care Diocese of Toronto”

All film suggestions are from the PBS Independent Lens blog “Earthy Day Watch list: 17 Films About Sustainability and Climate Change” (with the exception of “Chasing Ice” and “Black Fish”  which are from other sources). All the listed movies offered as suggestions by CEF as starting points for discussion around sustainability and stewardship.  https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/blog/earth-day-watch-list-17-new-films-about-sustainability-climate-change/

Image: Claude Monet’s “Sunrise”

Lenten Reflections – Ash Wednesday

Scripture: Genesis 1:1-5

In the beginning God created…” is one of the best opening lines ever written. It sets up our understanding of the world, and our understanding of God. In other religions the origins of the world are often described as violent, brutal, and focused on the anger or the desire of the gods. The Judeo-Christian story is different. The epic hymn in chapter one of Genesis celebrates a God who cares deeply about the world and everything in it. It celebrates a God who speaks life into every aspect of creation and calls it “good.” 

On the first day of creation God created light and dark, day and night. Through that act God set in place a rhythm for our lives. It’s a rhythm that all of creation experiences along with us; periods of activity and sleep, of work and rest. As we approach this next week, think about the ways God has created rhythms in your life that sustain you and help you flourish. 

Remember also that God created us from dust taken from the earth, breathed life into us and placed us in this world. We are connected to it and part of it. We are a part of God’s good and incredible creation.

Suggested action: Make this week a special focus on learning more about the world around you. Find out what watershed you live in. Go for a walk and see how many different birds and trees you can identify. Watch an environmental documentary or read a book or article about creation care.  Visit the Climate Caretakers Resources page for some book and movie recommendations: https://climatecaretakers.org/resources.

Suggested resources: A Netflix series, “Our Planet” https://www.netflix.com/title/80049832 , and the book “For the Beauty of the Earth” by Steven Bouma-Prediger 

Action suggestions are from: “A Fast for the Earth: Lent 2021 a resource created by The Bishop’s Committee on Creation Care Diocese of Toronto”

All film suggestions are from the PBS Independent Lens blog “Earthy Day Watch list: 17 Films About Sustainability and Climate Change” (with the exception of “Chasing Ice” and “Black Fish”  which are from other sources). All the listed movies offered as suggestions by CEF as starting points for discussion around sustainability and stewardship.  https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/blog/earth-day-watch-list-17-new-films-about-sustainability-climate-change/

Image: Winslow Homer, “Moonlight, Wood Island Night”

Lenten Reflections

During Lent we often give up significant things to help us remember Christ’s sacrifice. This Lent we hope you’ll join us in doing more than just giving things up  – and instead choose to engage in a variety of activities and changes that will help sustain God’s good creation. Each week – starting tomorrow with Ash Wednesday – we’ll post a new scripture, reflection and suggested action on the Campus Edge blog to help you think more deeply about how to care for the various aspects of our created world.  You can also access them via our Instagram and Facebook accounts.

However, if you would like to sign up for weekly Lenten Reflection reminder emails, please email: info@campusedgemsu.com with the subject heading “Lenten Reflections”


The suggested actions come from: “A Fast for the Earth: Lent 2021 a resource created by The Bishop’s Committee on Creation Care Diocese of Toronto” and All film suggestions are from the PBS Independent Lens blog “Earthy Day Watch list: 17 Films About Sustainability and Climate Change” (with the exception of “Chasing Ice” and “Black Fish”  which are from other sources). All the listed movies offered as suggestions by CEF as starting points for discussion around sustainability and stewardship.  https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/blog/earth-day-watch-list-17-new-films-about-sustainability-climate-change/.

Liminal Spaces by Dara Nykamp

This year has been one of living in liminal space for me.  The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the word liminal as “of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition: in-between, transitional.” That concept of “in-between-ness” has marked my year. Transitioning from my job doing prison ministry to joining Campus Edge. Transitioning from life in Kalamazoo to life in Lansing. Even transitioning from life as we knew it to life during a pandemic and its associated adjustments. This year has been a year of waiting, transition and change. 

Transition used to be something I avoided at all costs. But lately I’ve grown to value transitions. New semesters, new classes, new places to live all provide a chance to make new decisions. They allow us to create new patterns in our lives. There has been a ton of speculation on how the pandemic, this year of waiting for things to reopen and normalize, will shape our decisions and lives moving forward. Will the patterns we created become part of our new routines? Will we jump back into all of our roles, activities and habits from before, or will we make new choices after having lived in this liminal space?  

We see people faced with that same set of questions over and over in the Bible. When the Israelites left Egypt they made a new choice to follow God. When they came to the promised land they renewed their relationship with God.  In living in exile, returning from exile and waiting for the Messiah to come – the nation of Israel lived with liminality for centuries. The prophets even encouraged them to live in that liminal space, Jeremiah told the people to “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce” (Jeremiah 29:5) while waiting to come back from exile. God wanted their lives to flourish. God wanted them to thrive. Sometimes the people managed to follow God, to change their lives. Sometimes they fell back into old patterns. 

Even Christ’s description of his Kingdom has a liminal aspect. When the disciples decided to follow Jesus they stepped into the “already-but-not-yet” nature of Jesus’ kingdom on earth. Jesus was on earth showing people a glimpse of his kingdom and pointing them to an even more glorious future marked by the Spirit’s dwelling in believers’ hearts and the eventual coming of the New Heaven and New Earth. He was living and leading in liminal space. 

So, what does it mean for us as Christians to live in liminality? It means we realize that the world we are living in is not perfect, but that we can catch glimpses of God’s kingdom right here and right now. For us today God’s kingdom is in every act of love and kindness, every action we take that is Spirit lead and faith driven. It is here when we gather together as Christians and when we pause to reflect with thankfulness on everything that God has given us. The year has held grief and loss and been one full of transitions. But it can also be full of hope as we look toward the choices we make as things “get back to normal”.