Saturday, 14 February 2009

Outrageous Grace

Times have been so busy recently that I really shouldn't be awake right now writing when I could be in bed sleeping, but I can't be stopped from procrastinating. My family are coming to UEA to visit tomorrow which will be great, althoug it does mean I'll have to be awake tomorrow (Saturday) to welcome them!

The past couple of weeks have been epic, to use just one of my current favourite words.

Last week was 'Jesus Week' as Ken from next door so lovingly put it. 'Jesus: The Real Deal' (to use the proper branding) was awesome. I didn't suppose we would call it 'mission week' for nothing, but I hadn't anticipated the physical strain that carrying a suitcase or two of gospels around everywere with me would have! For those not in the know, the CU have spent the entirety of last week at UEA running outreach events- the aim? To 'Make Jesus Known'! It's been amazing to see how it all works, to help out where possible with cheese storage and washing up and to experience as ever, more of God's never failing faithfulness. With a lunchbar (thats free food and a talk about Jesus for those not in the know) every day, and an evening event to follow we had our hands (quite literally) full pretty much non stop. Its amazing to witness so many people getting to hear about Jesus, especially close friends. In the flat, we've had some really interesting/exciting/exhausting times too, discussing/debating with and learning from eachother. There more I talk about other faiths though, the more I am convinced that following Jesus is so different from everything else you can believe about life, death and the universe. I can have a real relationship with God, and the assurance of eternal life spent with him- even though I'm bound to mess up every day. Thankfully what I do will never earn me that relationship with him, he's done it all! I've fallen, like everyone else, far short of God's glory and yet he still sees fit to bring me into a relationship with him through an awesome sacrifice.

I had a really encouraging conversation about the gospel with a friend, who isn't a christian, but who finds it completely mindblowing (and rightly so!). It went something like this:

So..let me get this straight..God made us for a relationship with him..but then we turned our backs on him, and thats Sin? So I'm sinning and you're sinning, every day, and this seperates us from God..


But God loves us so much, that he sent his son, A man? to earth?


Who was basically God, but also a man?


Right...and he came so that he could die, and take the sin that seperates us from God on himself so that we can have a relationship with him?


So you're going to heaven?




wow. and you actually believe this?



And I realised that yes, it's all a bit outrageous. To hear this for the first time, must be pretty outrageous- but then this is God we're talking about. God became human, is Father Son and Holy Spirit all at once, and actually communicates with us. He made the whole universe, but knows and cares when I sit down or stand up, knowing my every thought but loving me nonetheless. That is outrageous grace.

Uni work has been rolling along as usual, this week I've tried to start (slowly) climbing the pharmacy mountain, as the mountain of christian stuff at the end of my bed slowly grows.

I'd want it no other way though. Keeping 1000 or so copies of Mark's gospel at the foot of your bed isn't a bad conversation starter I've found and transporting these around campus in a suitcase or two every day has genuinely made me 'hench' if indeed this is even a word.

This evening I've had a wild time at the laundrette, but at least when my parents visit tomorrow it will maybe look like I'm coping well with life generally.

I need to write more, or continue feeling guilty about blog neglect, but I literally can't wait to go to sleep. It's been a long week, what with double laboratorying, silent discoing, top 25 drugs card gaming, an exciting/pretty frightening proposed role on the Christian Union Comittee next year, singing, tea drinking, lecture attending and sleep neglecting.

I'll write something more soon. but early bed for me now.
goodnight x

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Jesus: The Real Deal

After a Snowy week, although Norwich has escaped far more than most cities it seems, today has brought glorious sunshine, prompting me to get out of bed quite quickly and head off for a walk around the lake, frozen over and shimmering. Such impulsive adventures in the cold may have been a mistake for my general health as I currently sound like a man due to a sore throat and general coldness. Perhaps this is partially inflicted by too much going out and not enough work, or my quite frankly obscene sleeping pattern this week. Having spent a typical and wonderful weekend at home last weekend, I returned on Sunday night to the flat to find James and Jo had taken the plunge and finally cleared our kitchen table of it's piles of general kitchen crap, replacing the broken rice cooker, empty jars, cookery books,miscellaneous cutlery,plate of solidified pasta etc with flowers. It was a joy to behold. Otherwise the week has been a week of tea parties galore, dancing (Disney fancy dress LCR and Mercy's 'Popcorn party' in honour of Beccy's fake birthday), wine, cake, tea, staying up all night having heavy theological discussions, singing and still, much to my upcoming trauma, doing very little real hard work. I've been reminded of God's grace through so many conversations and I am really beginning to get worried about how little work I have done.

Last weekend marked Lucie's birthday, and a last minite decision to mission back home in honour of the occasion, amongst other things. I hung out with my family loads, cuddled the cat, and helped Dad to choose and buy his new guitar, before sharing dinner with my parents and my brother. On Saturday night I joined the girls at Lucie's house which was so lovely, and she woo-ed us with her coctail making skills before we headed into town- to Sumo- a bar i hadn't been to in a very long time! It was great to hang out, have a giggle and catch up over more green stuff in jugs, before we went on to Mosh, one of my favourite places to go in the world, especially after a time away. We danced, although at some points it was more a case of holding certain friends upright for a while, and of course we finished the night off in Subway- fast food being the only way to top off a fun night out. I concealed my upset about having to speed back to Norwich the next day, but I can't say I haven't been loving my time here. Of course I can't complain about being far from home, when my flatmate's home is Australia, but it can be sad all the same knowing that I can't teleport where I like, when I like in order to see my friends from Leicester more often. Whilst it is so normal not to see them for weeks/months, I don't miss them any less, and it doesn't take long to slip immeadiately back into the old routines once I'm back home. The train journey to Peterborough on the way back was a sad one, but I couldn't have a better city to come back 'home' to than Norwich.

Having squished around in the mud and braved the perilously icy path around the lake, I'm thinking about doing some work, or accompanying some friends to morrisons to finally go food shopping, a task I am not a fan of, and have been putting off for four weeks. I am queen of procrastination, as the existence of this blog shows. I think morrisons calls me. I really need to sort my life out. My lecture notes are everywhere, I need to fill in a CRB and send it back to spring harvest, find out excactly where I am every day next week so I can juggle an excessive amount of copies of Mark's gospel about because of 'Jesus: The Real Deal'..or 'Jesus Week' as a frequent visitor to our flat called it. Each day next week the Christian Union will be holiding events at lunchtime and in the evenings- including free food, and at each event a talk by a visiting speaker about Jesus, and why we love him. It's so exciting and such an amazing opportunity to tell everyone on campus about the relationship we can have with God because of what Jesus has done for us! We are expecting great things to happen- we want everyone to be talking about Jesus! Each flat on campus will be getting flyers through their door- Beccy and I took them round across most of Colman House yesterday, and had some really good conversations with people. It is going to be a crazy week I think.

As I drink tea, and enjoy my last tin (!) of Tuna, it seems like Morissons is calling me even louder. I'm in a continual tug of war between pharmacy work and fun times...although the two can be combined with the help of a chinese takeaway revision party when times get harder. I'm trying not to let academic apathy get the better of me- one day soon I'll spring into PBL/IPL/Presentation/Essay/Top 25 drugs/Portfolio/Chemistry/Biology action, promise!

I'm hoping to be on the Spring Harvest Children's volunteer team this year, realising that this is the only way I can afford to go! I don't know anyone who is going the same week as me yet, but I guess if I can actually get round to filling in the official application form, I can go it alone. I think i'll have to go (heavily laden with books) from Norwich straight after term ends, which will be exhausting- but I'm up for it. In the time I have done children's work at home, God has taught me far more than I have taught them- and it will be a great way to serve.

Enough with the procrastination now anyway- no more nonsense.
But I'll have to leave you with this: