Being a part of our Lutheran confession of faith is not a challenge, it’s a blessing. Being a college student in a world where those who are Christian are looked down upon is challenging. As Lutherans, we have been taught to love our neighbors and help them before helping ourselves. Many people my age have been taught the opposite and, at times, this can make it difficult to get along with them.
When this happens, it can be a struggle to find balance. It can be difficult living with or being surrounded by people who invite temptation from the Devil and have no care about the bounties given by Christ. But, the greatest comfort we can receive in life is with Christ Jesus. Then, even on our worst days – and, of course, on our good days too – we are turned to him and find peace in Christ no matter what the circumstances of our life. No matter how hard school is going, or the dramas that occur, we trust that Christ’s love for us is unending. So when our friends are struggling to find peace, the best thing we can do to love and help them is speak the Good News of Jesus Christ to them.
So how do we engage those friends and classmates who make the subject of every sentence “me”? We recognize that we struggle against the same temptation to make it all about us, and we show them love and pray for them. Our vocation as a friend is to love them as we want to be loved charitably by them. And while we sometimes become frustrated, and just want to ignore them for a time, we also realize that we may be the only person who is there for them. Therefore, don’t be afraid to invite them to church, even if they say no time and time again. Pray for them. Pray that they are turned toward Christ Jesus for their comfort and consolation. Pray that the Holy Spirit works in and through us to show them the truth about the Word of God.
Maybe we imagine that all this is useless, that they’ll never want to go with us, or they’ll never want to listen to us. Ask them why. Point them to the gifts Christ has to offer. If they are curious, point them to what the object of our faith and His gifts mean or why we do what we do at church. For example, I asked one of my roommates why she doesn’t go to church. She told me it was because of the offering. She didn’t understand why they passed a bucket around for everyone to drop money in because she didn’t know where it went. I explained to her that the money goes into the church. That is how pastors get paid, how improvements are made, and how the church is able to do things. In this way, little by little, we can hopefully wipe away concerns friends and classmates may have about our confession and church, and eventually they may join us. Something else we can do is play Higher Things hymns and listen to Higher Things podcasts while we get ourselves ready in the morning. They may overhear something they agree with and strike up a conversation with us about it.
The point is, don’t let others put us and our faith in a corner feeling as if it is something to hide or “not bother” about. For example, we don’t listen to the television on low volume so no one can hear. We make sure we can hear it in order to follow along with the plot of the show. In the same way, we do this when we listen to podcasts, hymns, etc. We sing our Lutheran hymns and listen to the Word of God. In this we trust that the Holy Spirit is working in and through us to point our friends and classmates to the source of their life and salvation, Jesus Christ.
Katelyn Hunt studies journalism at Sam Houston State University.