“Stand clear of the closing door please…the next station is 14th Street Union Square…Stand clear of the closing door please.” As the robotic voice echo in the halls of the hollow steel chambers of the subway car, people push, shove and rush into the car. This is a typical rush hour for most New Yorkers.
Many Nations…Yet Complete Strangers?
Anyone who has visited New York City or ridden the subway knows that it’s hard not to notice the cold hard stares or “don’t talk don’t stare mentality”. For the most part, everyone is absorbed in his or her own world. Yet God is calling the body of Christ from all organizations and ministries on our campuses and cities to collaborate with Him in prayer and mission to see more souls come into the kingdom.
We might have differences in culture, but the great commission (Matthew 28) binds our groups to a common cause. Sadly, I can’t help but see the contrast between that truth and what I’ve seen and heard this past week. I was talking with two students about the status of their campus ministry.
On the one hand, they expressed discontent and frustration because of the great disunity they felt between ministries, and on the other, they pointed to the large number of ministries as being the main cause of the problem. I thought about how enemy has divided us, and how often our ministry has reflected a subway car – filled with many different people with gifts and talents, and yet they are strangers to each other.
We first created walls and barriers that separate us in order to encourage greater diversity and advancement of the kingdom, because God gives each group of people different passions and desires. However, it has gone so far as to move us away from advancing his kingdom, which is exactly what the enemy wanted for us.
Living in a city of 8.1 million people makes it hard not to be surrounded by people and things, yet still feel strangely alone when sitting among many in a subway car. How can we become not strangers – but a community on the subway, like the early church described in Acts 2:42-47?
Acts 2:42-47 begins with acknowledgement and awareness that we have all things in common and that all our ministries have a common mission to see the lost come to know of the love and grace of Jesus Christ. We need to acknowledge that we need help and that we can’t live out this mission without one another, because one ministry or group won’t usually be able to reach an entire campus.
However, if the body of Christ as a whole works together, we can reach an entire campus together. Why is this important? What do we have that most people need on our campuses? History has told us time and again. Malcolm Muggeridge said that when “we look back on history what do we see? Empires rising and falling, revolutions and counter-revolutions, wealth accumulating and wealth dispersed, one nation dominant and then another…Behind the debris of [these empire rising and falling, leaders, tyrants, dictators.] there stands the gigantic figure of one person, because of whom, by whom in whom, and through whom alone mankind might still have hope. The person of Jesus Christ.”
What we all carry with us is this hope expressed in John 3:16, however, this hope and love that we now embody is best expressed if the body is united. It begins with becoming more than strangers on the subway, and becoming a body acknowledging both our differences and what brings us together. Together, we can help reveal the awesome creative God that made us unique and special.
Anthony Deng is a New York City Metro Campus Coordinator for Campus Renewal. Leads and coordinates volunteer for events such as One Cry. He helps facilitate the New York City Metro Area student core team. Anthony was born and raised in New York City graduated from CUNY the City College of New York he has a B.A in History and Asian Studies. Anthony gives New York City tours to freshmen of various campuses teaching and showing various hidden gems of New York City. On the side, he loves to collect college sweatshirts and t-shirts as well as plays. In addition, he loves to play and watch basketball and football.