Christian witness in the university

Integrity, incarnation, and dialogue in today’s universities

At this time of advent, as we consider the incarnation of Jesus, we want you to pray for student witness to our God-made-flesh in the university.

Start by thinking of some specific students you know and use these excerpts from an article about incarnational witness to inspire your prayers for them.

“The incarnation of the Word of God in human flesh speaks of identification, dependence, vulnerability, and weakness. It proclaims a Saviour who comes to us where we are, looks through our eyes, speaks with our tongue, wears our clothes, carries our infirmities, and suffers in solidarity with us. An incarnational engagement with the university implies that we are fully immersed in the life of the university.”

Pray students you know would be immersed in their universities, witnessing with integrity as they study, debate, write essays and learn from others.

“A university is a place where conversations of many kinds are taking place, whether in the classrooms, the research labs, the tutorials, the senior common room (faculty club), the student union, or the host of student societies that sprout on campus. That is where Christians should be, humbly yet boldly joining those conversations (which, for the most part, they have not initiated) and taking them in a different direction. I believe it is possible to start with any subject, from the most ridiculous to the sublime, and if we ask sufficiently probing questions we descend to the bedrock issues that the gospel addresses: What does it mean to be human? What is the nature of ultimate reality? What is it we truly value and why? Whence do we derive our notions of good and evil, reason, beauty, or justice?

Pray for students to be good at asking questions and seeing the bedrock issues of the gospel behind everything. Pray they would have confidence in humbly and boldly joining in conversations that are already happening in their universities.

“We do not take Christ into the university; it is he who goes ahead of us and leads us there. He is present, even though unacknowledged, in the biochemistry laboratory, the music class, the radio astronomy centre, the Student Union debates about global warming or student funding, and all the conversations that make up university life. We are called to discern his presence and activity and articulate it with courage and wisdom.”

Praise God that he is already at work in the universities. Pray students would be sensitive to listening to what he is doing and be ready to serve him.

And above all, pray that Christ would be made “flesh” through the witness of his people, on campus and in the university through this period of advent.

Read the full article from Vinoth Ramachandra on “Christian witness in the university” in issue four of IFES Word & World. Vinoth is the IFES Secretary for Dialogue and Social Engagement.

All Word & World Articles