This past week, the Campus Ministry staff led campus through a “Justice Week” to help shift our focus outward to those in our community and those around the world who are fighting through injustice and division.
The length of Justice Week was different than previous years. Instead of one week, Campus Ministry expanded this year’s focus on justice to include Christian Formation events from Martin Luther King Day until spring break.
“Campus is leaning into God’s heart for justice in light of our divided world.” Dean of Christian Formation, Mark DeYounge said.
DeYounge further explained how God is doing a reconciling work in the world around us, and we are invited to partner with Christ as his ambassadors. The reality is that we don’t need to look far to find division in the world around us, and as ambassadors of reconciliation through Christ, it is our job to advocate for justice, close the gaps of division and uplift Christ through it all. This work is oriented toward a biblical vision of justice, and it is what this “season of justice” is all about.
Between now and spring break, students, staff and faculty can attend chapels, NED Talks, Ngages and other Christian Formation events that are focused on the advocacy of justice.
At the center of this theme runs the NED Talk series, which is called “Ambassadors of Reconciliation.” Some of the topics covered in the next few weeks will include ethnic divides, politically partisan Christianity, sexuality and celibacy and intellectual diversity, among others.
The goal of the series is to help students recognize the division present in their families, communities and in society as a whole and equip them to walk boldly into those spaces and work toward reconciliation with the love of Christ.
So far in this season of justice, we have heard from the voices of Rev. James Ellis and Shane Claiborne, who spoke about integrity and interrupting patterns of injustice.
Looking forward, speakers for February’s Tuesday chapels and Wednesday NED Talks include Greg Coles, Dr. Benjamin Conner, Dr. Holly Taylor Coolman and Pastor Rafer Owens who will help us further dive into God’s purpose for creation and the work he is calling us to participate in as they talk about things like serving in the world around us and breaking down barriers.
In addition to regular Christian Formation events like chapels and NED Talks, students can get involved in this season of justice in a variety of ways.
Two of these events happen next week on Feb. 7: a visit to a prison ministry to experience worship with inmates, and Juntos, a bicultural education-focused event.
There will also be more opportunities for giving and prayer with the Amar Project and the work with the Syrian schools students began last semester. And of course, Spring Service Partnership teams are getting ready to go out into the world and serve in just five weeks.
Regardless of how students choose to participate in this focus on justice or what chapel events they attend, the hope is that campus would know that biblical justice is not just an action once a year, it is a kingdom-focused lifestyle. Though it is difficult work, it is important, and Christ is inviting us to partner with him as we learn more about the division in the world around us and about the way we can be ambassadors for change and reconciliation everywhere we go.