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December 18, 2023

Harvard Students Dwell in Christ and in Community 

By sadie sasser, ministry fellow at Christian union gloria 

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  -John 15: 1-5 

Christian Union Gloria at Harvard is dwelling in the words of John 15 and in a newly furnished space near campus. Earlier in this academic year, as we leaned into this passage during our “Doxa” Leadership Lecture Series, it became apparent that, as with one’s personal devotional life, there are times in communities when a call to recenter at the feet of Jesus– to rest and abide in the True Vine– is the most important call. And as we have heard the call to rest and recenter, we have also felt the holy discomfort to lay down our entire lives and let the Lord do what He will, even if it involves pruning.

At CU Gloria, God is helping us to see more clearly what it means to bear fruit and let Him take the lead; and God has led us to abide with Christ together in community. 

harvard space third photo 2023

 

One of the highlights of the semester for students and faculty alike was the redecoration of our office space in Harvard Square. Our office now features a beautiful living-room-like space complete with a sectional, chairs, and an exceptional amount of bookshelves that are completely full. In the two months since this renovation occurred, multiple events, Bible Courses, leadership meetings, one-on-one discipleship conversations, and much encouragement and laughter have taken place. God provided a place to flourish in a time when the ground feels shaky underneath us, and the CU Gloria community is more stable because of it. 

While CU Gloria is experiencing transition, so are the student dynamics at Harvard College. The Harvard Crimson recently released their annual demographics on faith, and it was reported that the self-identifying Protestant contingent for the class of 2027 is 6.1%. Devastatingly, this is down 14% from ten years ago, when the class of 2017 reported 20.1% of students self-identifying as Protestant. Based on the data, students claiming Christianity have decreased from 42.4% in the class of 2017 to 22.5% in the class of 2027. The same article states, “The decline in Protestant-identifying students indicates Harvard may be breaking from its exclusionary past, a change we welcome.” We grieve at statements like these and continue to realize that the presence of the Gospel on Harvard’s campus has never been so needed. 

God is sustaining CU Gloria even in the midst of such a time of change. It seems fitting to write about such matters as we celebrate the season of Advent, the time of waiting. God is faithful, and He will keep His promises– His word will not return to us void (Dueteronomy 7: 9; Isaiah 55: 11).

Our Christian community is strengthening; we are committed to growing in prayer and in the Word; and we trust in a God who extends His peace and love to all who seek after Him. “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:7-8). 

We are asking God to help us bear much fruit. We are asking Him to give us fertile ground. And we are asking you to consider joining us in praying for all the students at Harvard– that they have eyes to see and ears to hear the life-giving call of Christ Jesus. 

To partner with or to continue to partner with CU Gloria's efforts at Harvard, consider giving an end-of-year gift of $25 or more here.