Forum 2021: super-enthusiastic expectations outdone!
After the months of restrictions that we’ve had because of the pandemic, I knew that Forum was going to be a highlight of my year, but even my super-enthusiastic expectations were outdone as I got to experience again what it is like to worship 'with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng' (Psalm 42:4)
As one of only a small handful of Christians studying music at Cambridge it can be hard to feel enthusiastic about outreach in the faculty. Through the Music Network sessions on Forum, it was so good to be reminded that there are other Christian music students in universities and colleges across the UK and to celebrate the work that God has been doing through them, knowing that the same power of the Holy Spirit is in us as well, even when we might not be seeing much fruit of that immediately.
Before arriving at Forum, I had seen the Music Network sessions on the timetable but I didn’t quite appreciate just how practically useful they would be. We spent considerable time considering the ways in which music students think uniquely and the kind of emotional place that they are coming from, getting to know the crowd around us, just like Paul in Athens (Acts 17). In a sphere of individuals motivated by self-promotion and ever-higher achievement, feelings of insecurity, disappointment, and worthlessness inevitably present themselves, but these are exactly the kind of broken lives that the gospel speaks into so powerfully.
Having been encouraged how desperately musicians need Jesus, the next challenge was, of course, how to tell them. I am, frankly, terrified of these conversations and am often reluctant to say anything for fear of misrepresenting the goodness and love of Jesus with my mumbled nonsense. Almost as if I were not the only one who felt this (!) Tom Chevis got us all rapping a simple, three-Bible-verse summary of the gospel. I am one hundred percent not the kind of person you would ever hear rapping, but even my skepticism cannot deny the fact that I am grateful for now having these verses floating round my brain, at hand for scripture-based gospel conversations.
A final reminder
The only thing left for feeling thoroughly equipped to be sent out into the next year was the reminder in the main meetings that 'God’s word is not chained' (2 Timothy 2:9) and, while it is wise to learn how to speak the gospel persuasively, the work is the Lord’s and He will work even through us.