So the driver told me he was taking all of these students to a frat party 20 miles away from campus in another town and would not be coming back until the early hours of the morning. He was apologetic and chuckled a bit.
Not being a partier and knowing I had to be awake for a lecture at 8:30am the next day, I started thinking of how to get home. While texting friends that could potentially pick me up, I was fielding questions from the very amused undergraduate students on the bus. They were curious, and we all saw the humor in the situation. To their credit, they were quite friendly: they invited me a number of times to "party with them." I politely declined and carried on a conversation with one guy about where he was from and his career plans, all the while getting messages back from a friend trying to figure out how to get me home. Well, we arrived at the party, I stood outside and waited for my friend who arrived 30 minutes later and in an hour, I was home.
Here is my favorite exchange with one of the passengers:
Random Guy: You should just go with it and party with us!
Me: How long are y'all planning on partying?
Guy: 'Til you go to sleep.
Me: (looks at non-existent watch on wrist) Well you'd better hurry up then.
So what can we learn from this as the church and Christians? People are lost in this world, searching for a place to belong, often times showing up somewhere feeling completely out of place (like I did). If we treat them in a way that communicates that they don't belong, they'll move on to somewhere else. We must seek to include people (just as the party-goers did for me), instead of judging them and pointing out the fact that they don't fit in.
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." 1 Peter 4:8-9