In the Relay world this month is often known as as ‘Nasty November’ just because of the sheer busyness of it all but if there is one thing I’ve learnt, it’s God’s faithfulness in the face of opposition.
It certainly has been busy here in Lancaster with CU leadership training, Weekends Away, Text for a Toastie, Mission planning, World Mission evening, Carol Service planning, Mission events, Training conferences and while all the time still having the joy of getting stuck into God’s Word in so many new and exciting ways.
This month I have had the privilege of working with four CUs in the region helping them to shape and plan their mission. One of the highlights of this was definitely the Lancaster CU weekend away. This year, Lancaster University are using the theme STORY to shape their mission because everyone has a story. We want to know the stories around campus. We want to be a part of the greatest story ever told. As we launched our STORY year at the weekend away, mission excitement was the name of the game, with the ever-inspiring Michael Green and Bruce Gillingham speaking, the whole atmosphere changed. We came with a group of Christian friends; we left with a mission team, excited to share the love of Jesus.
This was evident in our first day of STORY events just over a week later. To kick off, we had two lunchbars on the topic of forgiveness looking at the question; Can God forgive terrorists? Gearing up to an interview in the evening with ex-loyalist terrorist, Billie McCurrie. But while mission excitement was high, so was opposition. Complications with both food and venue had meant things were confirmed just hours before the events while during the second lunchbar in the afternoon, the SU came saying they are likely to have to pull the plug on the evening event due to the controversial nature of the speaker. But God was faithful and after constant prayer and petition throughout the day, things went ahead. Billie’s testimony to God’s grace in the face of hatred, murder and revenge was incredibly moving and powerful. Who couldn’t be moved by such humble yet absolute confidence of forgiveness after such cold hatred leading to murder? Because that’s what grace does. While hatred brings death, grace brings life. A more beautiful story than we could ever imagine. The place was packed.
But if there is one thing that has plunged me further into the depths of God’s grace than I could have asked, it has been in reading the Bible with those I have the privilege of working with. In amongst pressures of academic life, society commitments, illness, anxiety and fear, we have been unearthing the treasures of Colossians and what a joy it has been. Nearly each week I am brought to tears, not because of the struggles and difficulties of life, but just because of the beauty of Jesus. This is why I’m a Relay Worker, to experience the absolute joy of knowing Christ and seeing others do the same.
I’ve had some really incredible opportunities this month including leading CU training, leading a seminar on engaging with culture and even helping to give a lecture at Capernwray Bible school but only because when I am weak God is strong. I’ve faced my own challenges this month in trying a lot of things for the first time and learnt more than I can write here. It’s been hard sometimes but when I think about it, I really can’t imagine doing anything else. The more I see my own weakness, the more I get to see God’s strength. The more I see my own sin, the further I fall into his grace.
As much as this month has been one of events and busyness, it has also been a month of prayer, prayer that we have seen so powerfully answered from beginning to end and one of my favourite things is always to meet up with other members of the team, students from other universities and other Relay workers to see this is true not just across Lancaster but across CUs all over the country. To quote one of my favourite writers: ‘Jesus did many other things as well, if every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.’
[John 21:25] 🙂