Tuesday, September 2, 2008
This past weekend was one that was 10 years in the making. Well, "ish". I was part of Campus Crusade for Christ in college, and there was a huge influx of students that all started coming right around the same time. Crusade at ISU was different than at most other schools. We did not have full-time staff and borrowed staff members from IU about every other week for a visit. Other than that, we were student-run, student-led. If we had a cookout, the students planned it. If we led Bible studies, the students led them. If we had a leadership meeting, there were no "big people" there. If we planned our weekly worship meeting, it was up to us. It was very different than what most schools would consider to be the "normal" Crusade experience. We varied in numbers from 30 at our weekly meeting, up to about 80 at one point. Compare this to when Paul and I worked at Ball State and the Crusade there averaged 400-500 students a week, with 700-800 involved overall. It was different, that's all I'm saying.
The good thing is that I feel it raised up leaders among us as most ministries don't really have the opportunity to do. When there are one or two "directors" or "staff" or "big people" hanging around, the students tend to let them run the show and make the big decisions. We did not have that luxury. It was a real time of spiritual growth for most of us, when we took ownership of our own faith. It was also a time to see what we were made of, because it was kind of up to us, with God's help of course, to make sure things got done.
Many of us have stayed close. We were all on a rotation of being in each other's weddings, have all had baby showers, and have generally kept in touch very well. We know that no matter what else is going on, we are going to our friends' Karen and Trevor's house for New Year's Eve. We have something special as a group, when many people lose touch after graduating college and moving on.
So, we figured it was about ten years since we had all started going to Crusade (1998)....not since we graduated! Geez, how old do you think I am? I am just getting past my ten year high school reunion! In honor of that, we planned a reunion. We had a get-together on Friday night at our house, a cookout on Saturday afternoon, and a meeting just like our college ones on Saturday night. We had the same speaker, the same worship team, the same songs.
I was on the worship team in college, and got to sing with them again this weekend. There is so much talent among those people. They all play the instruments and figure out the rhythm and key and all that stuff. I just hold the mic and sing. Pretty easy on my part. But Saturday night, standing at the front of Holmstedt 102 with that same group of talented musicians, singing songs I haven't sung in seven or eight years, looking out at the faces of all my friends who made such an impact in my life....folks, the emotion hit me like a tsunami. I had joked to a couple of my friends that they were probably placing bets on how long it would take me to start crying.
"7:32? Who had 7:32?"
But I couldn't help it. And for the record, my eyes were not the only ones shedding a few tears. God did something big in my heart over those college years. And I know He did in the hearts of my friends. And to see them all now, still loving each other, still loving Jesus...it was a beautiful thing. Don't worry, it wasn't an ugly cry or anything. Just the cry of people who are with friends who changed them, singing to a God who changed them.
It's hard to believe I have known some of those friends for ten years now. Spring of '98 is when I met Paul for the first time. I won't start to tell you about his bad fashion sense and dyed blonde hair. He's improved over ten years, like a fine wine (with a little fashion help from his wife). God gave us all something so special there, and I was so blessed to share in that again, even if just for a couple of days. We always have New Years Eve to look forward to. But this reunion surpassed my high school one in ways I cannot even describe.
Well, we weren't all a drunken mess, for one.
And we weren't chillin' in the corner of the Legion with the same old cliques.
And we didn't have to go out on the front porch to escape the thick smog of cigarette smoke.
But enough comparisons! I just mean that it was deeper than that. It was deeper than who has gained weight and who has been the "most successful" and who has the smartest child. It was a reunion of people who love God and desire to see their friends still walking with God. It was a reunion of people who would rather share about their most recent mission trip than their most recent car trade. It was a reunion of people who could share some of their deep struggles with people who would pray for them.
It was something sweet and blessed. And lest I gush anymore, I'll just save it for my new memories.