In another attempt to pin down what this ever-evolving blog is about (comedy or tragedy – you decide), I figure it’s time to tell you a bit about college. This is mainly because I keep getting questions, along the lines of “thanks for posting that picture of your dinner, but what did you actually do of substance today”? Ouch! And noted..
Seriously though, life has changed a lot lately, even since the first few weeks of swanning around insta-spamming the world with rosy-hued Sydney shots. Now, it turns out, we do work. We learn things. We read things. Our brains hurt. And it’s totally awesome.
For funsies, I’m going to attempt to answer the ‘what is college like’ question with a serious of similes. Here goes nothing..
College is like a day not involving chocolate – extra-ordinary in every way.
First of all there’s chapel which we have 3 times a week for an hour. I LOVE chapel. Last Friday, David Hohne preached the last of 3 sermons addressing Richard Dawkins claims about ‘sex, death and the meaning of life’. For the very first thing you hear on a Friday morning to be a reminder that my life has meaning because Jesus considered it worth dying for, is about the best thing ever.
For an ordinary run-of-the-mill day to include multiple anything-but-ordinary sermons\ teaching points\ prayers and expositions of God’s word is the greatest privilege. And that’s what I feel now that I’m at college, the thing that I only almost felt before I came. See, it didn’t feel like a privilege before I got here, except in an abstract sense. What it felt was terrifying – long and unknown, serious and intimidating. Now that I’m here, it is the greatest privilege, and one I long to savour. I know this time here at Moore is short… I want so much, in God’s kindness, to drink deeply.
The joy of college is that ‘ordinary’ classes offer just that opportunity. In my Friday morning Ephesians class at 8.22am (I wrote it down), we were triumphantly assured of the following:
“That we are raised (because of Jesus ascension) means we are ascended into heaven with him. His being seated means we are seated. This is a picture that raises us up from the grave”.
How awesome is that? How on earth could you not love class when that is just a snippet of an ordinary days learning? Before I came, I never thought about how in the NT and OT subjects the bible would be explained, and the fact that it’s basically like hearing incredible sermon after incredible sermon. That’s what it means for me to go to class! I still can’t get over it.
College is like climbing skyscrapers and shooting webs out of your wrists – great privilege = great responsibility.
In a comic-book hero meets real life situation, this privilege feels heavy, carries with it responsibility. Some people never get to do this. And it is a ‘get to do’ now, as opposed to the ‘have’ I would have clarified silently afterward, not that long ago. There is no sense in which this life is not a great blessing. There is no sense in which it is alright to dial it in.
College (idyllically) is like a productive Saturday morning – you get to do a bunch of things you’ve wanted to for ages, but never had time for.
Away from the ethereal and down to the practical, my schedule involves 1-6 hours of class per day*, and Tues – Fri have combined chapel, women’s chapel or first year group bible studies for an hour at 9am.I mostly finish straight after lunch, leaving the afternoons free to do readings and assignments. Speaking of which I submitted my first assignment today – woot! Last week I worked hard for the first time since getting here, and enjoyed what that felt like. God sustained me through late nights of reading, socialising and my outreach committee of a Thursday evening. I got to the weekend feeling tired but happy, and had a lovely restful and joyful time with some precious friends.
College feels like post-run muscle ache – the (brain) exercise is so worthwhile, but it hurts a bit at the time.
The brain hurties bit is what comes from studying again after a few years of not. Greek doesn’t come naturally to me (shocker!) and neither does ploughing through 50 pages of church history in one sitting. At the end of every day I feel tired in a good way – like I’ve earned the sleep that’s coming. It’s kind of unfamiliar (the primarily mental rather than physical tiredness) but it’s nice.
Being a student minister at St Luke’s Clovelly is like a fuzzy blanket in winter – enveloping, warm and reassuring.
St Luke’s church on Sunday is a great joy and I am constantly amazed and thankful to God for bringing me there. Clovelly is a beautiful beach suburb near Coogee, and the 4pm service I attend is only four years old. It has a lot of young families and an enormous amount of children, considering it began with only 3 kids in 2009. There are 3 other student ministers from Moore at St Luke’s and another 4 or so students who attend, which is really lovely – ditto to the joyous apres-church Sunday dinner tradition we have begun. The people at church are warm and friendly and have made me feel so welcome each week. Already there is none of the ‘who can I talk to’ fear that accompanies starting somewhere new – and teaching my first pre-school kids church yesterday was a great delight after a few weeks of settling in. Praise God for his kindness in giving me a church family, and please pray that I might be a blessing there, even as I have been shown great blessing.
Living on college is like being in a Christian dramedy – girly chats, movies and fun times.
I feel like it’s ridiculous that I love living with 40+ other women, so maybe this is something that will hit me hard in a few weeks… At the moment there is incredible joy in having friends pop into my room and flop on my bed, text me from 2 rows away during class, squeal loudly over hot chocolate and gloriously analyse all manner of social interactions. There is joy in after dinner walks and serious chats, in finding out how they came to know Jesus, and in the reward of Gelato runs.
I love and miss my Newcastle family, my church, my friends and my dingoes. But for a new life that I was afraid to live, it’s pretty delightful. God has abundantly blessed me here in Sydney town, and I hope this over-long explanation of some of what it’s like points to Him as the one who sustains, who provides, who protects and who loves; the one to whom all glory is due.
* I get to do 5 classes this semester: Ministry & Mission, NT 1 (Mark & Ephesians), Greek, Hebrew & Biblical Theology. I think the language and Ephesians is my fav, but it changes every week… 🙂