Returning to York after spending the summer away made me realise just how beautiful York is. In the midst of the busyness of my daily life, I often forget to stop and admire the city streets I’m tearing down, resenting the city walls for just being in the way and never even glancing at the Minster as I rush into Church. I forget just how privileged I am to live in a city as beautiful as York, until I go elsewhere.
Over the summer I was lucky enough to go inter-railing in Central Europe, which has lot of Churches and Cathedrals, but, in every one we went in, we used the words “It’s nice, but it’s not as good as the Minster.” This made me think of my faith, my relationship with God. Do I also get so accustomed to the idea that the creator of the Universe calls me his child that I forget how amazing it is? The answer is yes.
I wonder how often do we, as Christians, forget the beauty of God’s love? Of how special and unique it is? I forget that God knows the depths of my heart, the pieces of me I dislike, that I push away and try not to remember. And yet, despite knowing that, he still loves me. That despite knowing the horrible thoughts that come into my head, the hurtful comments I would never say out loud, he still calls me his daughter.
And in return for this love, how often do we make other things a priority in our lives, my relationships with friends and family, fears and worries, being driven for success or running from the fear of failure. I know I often do it. I try and seek fulfillment in these things, only to realise once I’m there that the only place for true fulfillment is safe in God’s love, the place I just left.
So as you walk around York, either as a Fresher exploring the city for the first time, or as a returning student let me challenge you.
Every time you stop and stare at something beautiful, also think upon the beauty of God’s love for you. Think upon the fact that “you are precious and honoured in my sight” (Isaiah 43:4) that despite knowing the depths of your heart God loved you so much, that he came to Earth as weak and vulnerable baby, that for 30 years he lived as a carpenter in Nazareth in order to spend three years teaching, befriending sinners like you and me, to then be rejected by them all and nailed on a cross to die.
And he did all that knowing that will still reject him today, to gloss over the fact that we are a Christian as we make friends, or as we try an impress people. But Jesus still came to Earth for us, not in order to be served, but in order to give us the opportunity to have a relationship with him, so that God can call us his children and one day will welcome us home.
Jess Vaughan is a Student Forgee. She graduated from the University of York last summer.