When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, this is what he said:
Our Father in heaven,Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
This prayer was given as the centre point around which everything else was to orbit: recognising who God is, relying on him, forgiveness, freedom from evil….these are to be the building blocks of a new reality. This is the map to seeing the earth look like God always intended.
It’s the invitation to be part of a new kind of kingdom.
Now this is an invitation that has moved from a whisper to a shout in recent months. The pandemic has forced all of us to re-evaluate the foundations of our lives, and many are finding that what they thought was rock is actually a lot more like sand.
But what about students? And especially, what about students who are approaching graduation in these most unusual of circumstances?
Your domain is changing. In the natural sense, you’re about to enter a new kind of kingdom. It’s one without form and structure, lacking the boundedness of the education system. It’s one without an academic advisor, or a course parent, or a student worker waiting to invite you to coffee. It’s one where, more than ever, you’re going to need to stand on your own two feet. And while the landscape of this new “grown-up” kingdom will change more often than you could imagine and in ways you won’t expect, still, this next one is for life.
Even amidst all the upheaval of the coming season, the call on your life will remain the same as it has always been
Yet even amidst all the upheaval of the coming season, the call on your life will remain the same as it has always been: “Thy kingdom, thy will be done.” It’s the unchanging idea that our ultimate purpose in life is found in God. That regardless of our environment, we can always become more attentive to God’s kingdom and how we can join in with it. That whatever our ambitions and dreams, they can all be submitted to this new way of ordering the world around Jesus. In fact, is is the commitment of them to this idea that will ultimately bring them to life.
So, what next?
Honestly, it’s up to you. And in this time, more than ever before, it’s going to rely on the posture that you choose to stand in towards your circumstances. Attend as much online church and consume as much inspirational content as you like, it’s ultimately going to come down to whether you will be a victim to your environment or one who actively responds to it.
We’ve been living off the fumes of external propulsion for a while now; we need a mature faith that is powered from within.
When it comes to your faith, what kind of substance is there? What is it made of? And where does it come from? Because we’ve been living off the fumes of external propulsion for a while now; we need a mature faith that is powered from within.
But, of course, we want to help where we can. And so in this season of unprecedented change, here are three resources that we think will refresh you along the way:
Alicia Swaby reflects on the unique challenges of graduating in the COVID-19 era, and offers some brilliant and practical advice on how to navigate it well. Whatever the future looks like, finishing one season well puts you in the best position to thrive in the one to come. [READ]
In this bonus edition of ‘The CAMPUS Podcast’ we spoke with theologian Stephen Backhouse about what we should mean when we use the phrase ‘Kingdom of God’. We discussed the nature of God’s kingdom, what allegiance to Jesus looks like, and some of the misconceptions and challenges we face in today’s world. [LISTEN: Spotify / Apple Podcasts]
What would it look like for you to build your daily life around the original prayer? Could it move from lifeless tradition to your daily bread? Featuring original photography from Simon Bray, we’ve made these wallpapers for your phone to help remind you to pause regularly and say, ‘Our Father…’ There are six to choose from, just click on the links below:
And in addition to these specific resources, have a good look around the rest of the website for all sorts of things that will help you as you learn to follow the way Jesus.
Whatever life looks like now, and whatever the future may hold, know that God is better than you realise, that his affection for you is deeper than you could fathom and that ultimately faith, hope and love will remain forever.
We love you and we’re cheering you on!