Thursday, 19 February 2009

Free at Aston - day 4

On this final day of Aston CU's focus week, the campus was rather strangely deserted! But while flyering was hampered, conversations continued using questionnaires and at the stall in the uni' foyer, the lunchbar ("Is God a kill-joy?") was still mostly full, with great discussions afterwards, and Pizza Hut was so full for 'True Freedom' in the evening (around 80 people) that they had to send some CU members to the other PH in town to get more dough. This did leave a nice gap in the pizza consumption, just right for the talk, before the second round of pizza appeared.

A visiting crime writer was intrigued by our stall's display:

"But it's probably not what it says," he said. "It is what it says," I replied, "but it may not be what you'd think!"
A student of another culture asked the best question I heard all week: "The main things of Christianity," he asserted, "are that we can be forgiven, our sins atoned for, through the death of Jesus on the cross, that Jesus is the Son of God, and that God is Trinity." (At this, I wished that all Christians were so clear.) "Yet Jesus doesn't emphasise these in the gospels - he doesn't state them explicitly. Why do you give these such a key place if they aren't emphasised in the gospels?" As he had to rush off before the talk, I talked with Him about how Jesus reveals to his disciples who he is, in Mark's gospel - not so much in explicit statements, but in His words and deeds, gradually. The disciples spend much of the first half of their time with Jesus confused and fearful, wondering, "Who on earth is this?" Then when they 'get it' - he's God's promised King! - Jesus starts explaining that God's King must die. He gives it to them gradually, and all the time, every incident turns or focusses on who Jesus is and why he has come. The student understood this, but as the talk started and he dashed off saying he may come to the follow-up course, I wished that I'd said the obvious.

We don't get our understanding of Jesus and his work simply from the gospels. Jesus didn't come out of the blue (haha). God spent 2000 years setting up history so that we would have concepts by which to understand the Person and work of the Christ. 2000 years promising that the Lord, YHWH, would come, 2000 years of atoning sacrifices, 2000 years of failed 'sons of God' (we had discussed this earlier in the conversation)
. For all, there is enough information in the gospel account to get who Jesus is and what his work achieves. But if you're speaking with someone who believes the word of the prophets, you have it on a plate - even just with the opening of Mark, from Malachi 3-4 and Isaiah 40.

Far less importantly, I got my exercise of the day when the lifts broke down in one of the residence tower blocks. Having reached the 17th floor flat, I thought I'd show you the view (witness how deserted campus was, at a usually busy time of day!):

I was praying at the start of the week 2 Thess 1.11-12:
"To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."
God has answered that prayer abundantly - friends of CU members on the point of trusting in Christ, many students signed up for the course following on from this week, Globe Café increased by 300%, and so many significant conversations and gospels been distributed. CU members have grown more confident in Jesus Christ, and more aware of the truth and wonder of the good news.

1 comment:

Mary Jones said...

I am glad to hear it went so well!! (I normally read your blog much & comment little, but I took a blog break for about a month, so commenting some).