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Shining the Light in dark times.

Alison Williams, Southern Team Leader, 16/12/21

The gospel is good news for every generation – even those in a pandemic! CUs often hold ‘events weeks’ in a major effort to reach their campuses, but this year, many CUs will be thinking about about these Events Weeks having never experienced one in person before. So over the next 4 weeks we’re going to think about how your CU can get ready for Events Weeks next semester. Let’s start by considering the times we find ourselves in and how the Gospel might speak directly to students in 2022.

Shining the Light in dark times.

Part 1. 

Shining the Light in dark times.

An ever mutating virus threatens to keep interrupting our lives.

Natural disasters caused by climate change lurk in the background, threatening our existence.

World leaders seem unable to work together for change and equity.

Cyber attacks threaten to bring down our civilisation.

The economy is being kept afloat by extensive government borrowing, that will have to be repaid at some point!

Life on a small island, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean…frightening, unpredictable and hopeless!

Or at least that how it feels to many young people, especially students today. All around us people are anxious, worried and stressed, and not without good reason. News feeds are filled with more information than we can cope with and the news is rarely happy. But worse than all of these things – there is nowhere to turn. Activism provides an outlet but with few results, governments aren’t listening and conspiracies about who is actually in control abound.

Into this atmosphere of fear, confusion and despair Christian students can speak of hope, offer light and actively live in freedom. I’m reminded of Peter’s words to Christians in exile in 1 Peter 2:9

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

As followers of Jesus Christ we have received a new calling and citizenship, a new purpose and a wonderful future. Our outlook is not tied to the outcomes of COP26, increased cyber security, or medical advancement. Rather we are daily looking to the recreation of this world and the return of the perfect Leader who won’t be corrupted by the interests of big business. This means we can be set free from the fear that grips the hearts of our friends, the frustrations that lead to despair, the panic that leads to insecurity.

During the spring term many Christian Unions will organise Events Weeks on university campuses around Ireland. Into this atmosphere of hopelessness, fear and anxiety there is an opportunity to declare the praises Jesus in the darkness. Christians have been called out of the darkness, and now live in his “wonderful light”. Fellow students need to see and hear about the way out of the darkness, there is nothing more liberating for them to hear. Our culture, just as it always has been, is set against God and His people, but God’s chosen people, his royal priesthood, exist to be good for the culture, to do good in the culture and to speak his praises within that culture.

So as you think about these things, chat about how your CU could be provide hope–filled answers to the difficult situation students are facing today. Consider the questions people might have and how you could help them discover the goodness of Christ in this dark time. Think also about how the CU could serve the campus and provide for students in need.

Next time we’ll be thinking about how Christian Unions can show the love of Christ through their love for each other as they meet on campus.

Alison Williams

Southern Team Leader