Learn About/Subscribe:
Christian Union
Christian Union: The Magazine
April 27, 2021

Despite COVID Restrictions, CU Lux Digs Deep into Scripture

By Kelly Parks, Staff Writer

Community has looked very different on college campuses these past few months than it has in years past. However, these changes have not stopped Christian Union Universities from ministering to students across the United States, in person and also through virtual connections.

a yale photoChristian Union Lux at Yale held its first-ever virtual winter conference this year due to COVID-19 restrictions on campus.

In January, CU Lux at Yale University hosted its first-ever virtual winter conference. Dr. Ben Pascut,  Christian Union’s new ministry director at Yale, led the conference. Pascut, who formerly served as a ministry fellow at Brown, has a degree in Bible and Theology from the Moody Bible Institute and a ThM degree in Theology from Dallas Seminary. At the University of Cambridge, he earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy, with a focus on the life of Jesus and the New Testament. Pascut has also been honored to serve as a research consultant for the National Geographic Channel documentary Jesus: Rise to Power.

At Lux’s two-day virtual conference, Pascut focused on two well-known Bible stories: the parable of the lost son (Luke 15:1-32) and the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). He asked students to approach the stories as a piece of literature. For each passage, students received a handout which involved two stages of analysis. In the first stage, they were asked to study the story through close reading questions, examining the characters, diction, and themes of each verse.

In the second stage, students were asked to “let the story interpret them.” After analyzing the passage, the second stage challenged students to apply the verse to their own lives, enabling them to live out God’s Word in everyday life.

Rebecca Huang ’23, an Assistant Bible Course Leader (ABCL) with Lux, said, “Ben did an incredible job. He got us to look at familiar texts in a new way that really excited us. I want to carry on this approach to Scripture and read the Bible with the same energy as I do academic texts, rather than passively skimming the Word.”

Huang, who enjoyed attending Lux’s in-person winter conference last year, saw a silver lining in this year’s event, noting how the virtual format “created more opportunities for everyone to get involved.”

First-year student Ethelia Holt ’24, a neuroscience major who is also working on a certificate in Spanish, attended the virtual conference.

“I’ve been surprised at how I have been able to make such strong emotional and spiritual connections over Zoom with fellow students.” She said. “It’s so weird to think that I’ve never met most of the members of CU in person, but it feels like we’ve known each other for years.”

One of Holt’s most significant takeaways from the conference was “the truth that I don’t have to work and strive to prove my worth.” In academically competitive environments such as Yale, the pressure to perform can lead many students to feel inadequate and have a low sense of self-esteem. After the retreat, Holt said she hopes “to see that the invisible pressure to constantly perform in order to feel worthy or deserving no longer characterizes the culture at Yale. I hope that people can see all the ways they are unique and excellent... and stop running this never-ending race to prove themselves.”

Mpho Molefe ’21 has participated in Christian Union since her first year at Yale. An ABCL for first-year students, she said one of her biggest takeaways from the retreat was that “God is always there, even when it doesn't feel like it.”

Molefe recalled how she was prompted to read a verse from James 1 during a worship session.

“The first half of the chapter is about remaining steadfast in trials…God was telling me exactly what I needed to hear at that time, as I was coming out of a season of life where it was difficult to believe that He was with me… These verses reminded me of God's truth concerning periods of difficulty in our lives and reminded me, too, of His character. Why would the Shepherd who searched high and low to find me leave me alone when I was finally found?”

The English major, who is taking classes from home this academic year, said, although connecting with friends has been harder this year, “Christian Union has been a consistent source of encouragement.”

“CU Lux recently launched a discipleship program pairing upperclassmen with younger students in Christ-centered friendships. I’m so thankful for all of the wonderful, encouraging conversations I've had with the sophomore I was paired with…I was so blessed and learned something new each time we talked.”

While students will continue to face challenges with online learning and social separation, God is clearly still at work in students’ hearts at Yale. As first-year student Holt shared, “God has definitely been at work at Yale through the way His love has transcended all the difficulties brought on by COVID-19.”

“Christian Union has created new ways to gather and share peace, love, and joy through Zoom, Bible courses, worship, prayer, and so much more. I think now more than ever, people at Yale had to be intentional with their relationships and fellowship with others. This dynamic has created such fruitful relationships for me and so many others, as we cling harder to the opportunity to safely socialize in these unprecedented times.”

To stay up to date with important articles like this one regarding Christian Union's leadership development efforts at some of our nation's most influential universities, please subscribe to our newsletter: Click here.