Learning to Walk Alongside – Midland University

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. (John 14:26)

In John’s Gospel story for Pentecost, Jesus promised his disciples that the Holy Spirit would be given to them, an Advocate who would be with them forever.  In Greek, the word used in this passage for “Advocate” was paraclete, meaning “one who is called alongside.”

Think back to a time when the Holy Spirit came alongside you.  If nothing comes to mind, remember a time when another human came alongside you, perhaps right when you needed it.  Maybe you’re remembering an arm around your shoulder, a meal brought to your home, or a well-timed word of encouragement and hope.

While one might assume that students at Midland University in Fremont are learning most lessons within their classrooms, there are a number of stories coming from this ELCA institution and serving arm of the Nebraska Synod that tell how Midland students are also becoming well-versed in walking alongside community members on and beyond their campus.

For example, the Midland women’s lacrosse team alone has served through the Dodge County Humane Society and Habitat for Humanity, helped older people with snow removal, and read to elementary students.  The entire Midland University community is invited annually to take part in service projects as they celebrate Midland’s mission to learn and lead in the world with purpose.  During Mission Week 2021, students, staff, and faculty worked alongside one another to assist churches, a church camp, a shelter for those experiencing domestic abuse, and organizations providing shelter for animals.

During Midland’s Diversity and Inclusion Week 2022, student organizations like the Black Student Union, Hispanic Student Union, PRISM, and Global Warriors helped raise awareness and promote the gifts of living in an interconnected and diverse community.  They planned activities involving movies, food, and games to share their message, and others on campus invited students into workshops, large group presentations, and community art projects to learn about working together toward common goals.

What we learn inside the walls of our church buildings and classrooms is undoubtedly important, but perhaps even more important is how we live out that learning among our neighbors, answering the Spirit’s call to share God’s love, living and loving as the body of Christ in the world.

The Nebraska Synod continues to lift up various Nebraska Synod ministries and serving arms that have a connection to the upcoming worship text. The text referenced here is from John 14:8-17 [25-27] the Gospel reading for Sunday, June 5, the Day of Pentecost.