In September I had a simple dream: I saw a map of the United States, and a storm was brewing in the surrounding oceans. It produced two huge waves, one that rose over California, and another over New England. Like two armies marching toward each other, the waves rolled inward across the country until they crashed in the middle. I awoke with a feeling of excitement. I knew the waves were from the Lord, and rather than causing destruction they were bringing life.
Fast forward to the end of November. It is day 12 of a twelve-campus livingroom style worship tour called Let Love Arise. I walk into a music hall at Berklee School of Music, a prestigious music school down the street from MIT. My parents have decided to check out the life of young Christians, and enter with me, quickly gravitating to a few YWAM staff, also repping that generation. Three security guards stand officially at the doors, curious smiles glued to their otherwise serious faces.
Berklee is a different world than MIT, perhaps owing to the wide murky river that divides them. Some students in stocking caps sell fancy drip coffee out of styrofoam cups for $2. I spot a dear friend from Harrisburg, PA who helped spark the vision for these 12 nights months ago. She introduces me to her friends from Southern California. They blend into the Berklee crowd owing to their artsy-hipster-style, but I laugh as some of their expressions are uniquely west-coast.
They excitedly report that God is stirring up a mirror image movement in their colleges, and they have come crashing into Boston like a wave to join forces for a night. My gaze then falls on a small group of other Cru interns who have heard from their students reports of these nights, and have sacrificed their Friday to check it out. Some of my MIT students find their way to me, some are from Cru and others with Intervarsity. My Catholic friend from Boston University stands chatting with a group of Catholic students from Northeastern University.
It’s like looking at one of those pictures with children of all colors holding hands around a globe… but instead of recognizing the different colors I see the diversity of fellowships, churches, schools, and organizations.
Ushering the Presence of God
Then Emma, a blond chick from South Africa strikes up a beat on the drums. Nahid, of middle eastern descent, James, with a voice like Bing Crosby, and Christina, Hispanic, welcome the presence of God. And in one Spirit, we are united, eyes glued to the face of Jesus. Of course the music is good… but there is something so beyond the music, something tangible in the air, it’s inescapable and irresistible. The room is packed and students keep filing in. We keep worshipping, praising, singing, dancing. We are jumping, jumping, jumping. Some are on their knees and others lift their hands high.
It strikes me to see all these people I know from different contexts, all with different expressions of worship, together in one place, speaking with one voice, all glowing with the same light on their unveiled faces. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lamb. I can just picture Heaven right now.
It was a Family Party
At the end of the night, it wasn’t the songs we remembered, or the message about loving our neighbor, or the scripture read, or the friends we connected with. It was that we got to join in a Heavenly celebration, for 20 new brothers and sisters were welcomed into the family of God that night. We didn’t know entering that time of worship what sort of party we had been invited to, but we came and met with the Lamb.
And those 20 people, students, security guards, and a sound man, also had no idea what sort of party they were stepping into at 7pm on a Friday night, or that it was a family party for them. And that their brothers and sisters were coming from every church and organization, from next door and across the country, to welcome them home. And I have no idea why 18 non-believers would come to a worship night for Jesus, when I couldn’t even convince 18 of my own hungry students to come. But I guess that’s just the power of Jesus.
It is He that is irresistible, not fancy words or great music and lights. So irresistible that we would forget how different we are… that charismatics don’t do this or Catholics don’t do that.. or Cru or Intervarsity or YWAM, New Englanders or Californians. Jesus is sweeping the nation with a wave, and I want to get caught up in the surf.
Kelsey is a second year intern with Cru campus ministry in Boston, working mainly at MIT. This year she will be trailblazing a new internship in the northeast called Freedom58, a partnership between Cru and International Justice Mission, to bring Biblical Justice into Christian conversation at universities.