University is terrifying.
University is exhilarating. University is having the comforting normalcy of our previous 18 years of life ripped from us, as we’re thrust naked before the spotlight of our peers and all of a sudden, we are our own person; living cheek by jowl with people whom we would never normally come into such close contact with.
As students who follow Jesus, how should we live in this new, exciting, scary and wonderful time? This is a little of what has been developing in my heart the last couple of years at uni, and although I feel majorly hypocritical because I know I don’t manage to live this every day, I thought I’d share it, if only to remind myself!
What is our calling, as the body of Christ in our blocks of halls and student houses; amongst the dingy carpets and dodgy curries, and the smells of last night’s chunderings mixed with last week’s weed?
We are called to be salt and light; to present a different flavour to the ones around us, so different as to be like light in dark.
We are called to be like yeast in bread; it starts out as a tiny amount, but through kneading, it slowlily and steadily works its way into all parts of the dough and at the end of the baking its presence is made known throughout the whole loaf.
So, how are we different? Are we different? How are we told apart from the lovely, moral, non-judgemental atheist/Buddhist/Muslim/agnostic flatmate who is blatantly a 'better person' than we are?
I don’t think what this means is that our neighbours know us as the Christian who doesn’t do stuff. Yes, it is good and right to have standards according to which you live, but wouldn’t it be better if we were known more for what we did than what we didn’t do?
We are called to love.
Unconditionally, unreservedly, unbelievably, un-humanly. Like God loves us.
To bring grace, to smell of grace, to leak grace in a world which runs to the rhythms of ungrace.
To live the kingdom of God; to put skin on what God looks like to people who have never opened a Bible or set foot in a church.
To be with people through their dark times and their good times; to provide the tissues and the chocolates, and not be afraid of tears and vomit and hugs and drunk people.
No-one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
I think people are well used to other people telling them how to live their lives. But when something good is lived out in front of you, day after day; well, you’ve gotta begin to wonder! And then the great stuff starts to happen....
This is an impossible task for us to do on our own, for by ourselves we crumble under the weight of ‘should’ and ‘must’...but we’re not by ourselves. We have the Holy Spirit; the Great Enabler; the Comforter alongside us every moment, and I’ll hazard a guess there’s nothing he likes better to do than help us love one another – so let’s go for it.
Today's guest blog is from Emily, our student friend in Liverpool who's had some musings on how we live-out following Jesus as students in a world that isn't simple or easy, but worth it.