Guest blogger Kate has written this breath-taking account of what's happening in Bristol... be inspired, could this be your city too?
Last night four of us students saw one of our dreams realised. We united 100+ Bristol students from a medley of churches at the second event of its kind, called ‘Celebrate’. Calling it an event doesn’t seem to quite do it justice. This is a movement. A team. An army.
We hosted Celebrate at Woodlands Church this time round, changing location from the last one because we don’t want there to be any sense of one church owning it. This is God’s, not a specific building or denomination’s. The theme of the evening was victory.
The evening took shape even before we did the official welcome upfront. Hot chocolate was flowing and students were arriving in eagerness half an hour early to catch up with friends and meet new brothers and sisters. The musicians led us all into worship and already God was breaking chains and getting us excited. After setting the atmosphere as a place where God’s presence was dense and hearts could be free, we had a time of testifying God’s power in helping us overcome struggles we’ve faced over the last term.
I released a word God put on my heart about 4 years ago: ‘Battle cry’. Battle cry, (noun) a word or phrase shouted by soldiers going into battle to express solidarity and intimidate the enemy. I reckon that as Christians we need a battle cry. Something we scream at the top of our lungs as we run into this battle. Three (warned) students from different churches shared what their battle cries are as a result of reflecting on a struggle they’ve had this term. This is where we find our battle cries. They hit social approval, self-image, and lust. They raised the bar of honesty and as everyone else was invited to write down on a postcard what their battle cries were, you could see hearts being searched and journeys being walked.
David, a man with a heart for revival in the student world and a vision for freedom from religion, then spoke on the victory of the cross. Jesus’ battle cry sums it all up for us: ‘It is finished’. We live on the side of the cross that says ‘saved’, not ‘strive’. The past tense of life before Jesus was spoken and as he ended there was a bunch of students standing in solidarity, walking in freedom, and prepared to fight for their friends to receive the same Spirit that raised Christ from the grave.
We sang again, prayed together, and ended up prophetically marching as we sang “I’m a Christian soldier, with a song to sing of the love of God that has won me everything.” We joined the ranks of the King and left with the promise of Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”