It's not every day you see large numbers of drunk people walking around in the broad daylight. Today marks the annual "Unofficial St Patrick's Day" celebration, a student-planned drinking holiday.
These are some of the future leaders of our communities, businesses, and governments. Some of the brightest minds in our nation. They'll spend this weekend feeling entitled to live like fools, worshiping the idols of pleasure and self.
This weekend is one of vomit, loudness, lewdness, and STDs. And it's very easy for me to judge these students, as they follow what Paul calls "the course of this world and the prince of the power of the air, living out the passions of the flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, being by nature children of wrath." That's Ephesians 2:2-3.
Yet I left out one descriptor of these people. Paul writes in v2, that a life like this is one that "we all once lived," living out our bodily passions and incurring God's wrath. This evens the playing field. This allows me to respond like Jesus:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” -Matthew 9:36-37
Would you please pray for these students? Pray that their lives of self-gratification would not satisfy. Pray that they would party so hard that it would break them- IF that brokenness would turn into a search for the Way, Truth, and Life. And pray for us: for compassionate hearts to continually love and engage with students who are lost.
And follow Jesus' instructions: pray for Him to send laborers into His harvest field, here at the University of Illinois and beyond.
PS: If your heart breaks for these students and you'd like some fuel for your prayers by getting a better idea of the environment here, in that spirit you can check out this photo gallery from our local newspaper.