Here are some of the most important lessons I learned about being a Christian at Harvard . . . Looking back as a graduating senior, I’ve been incredibly blessed to have been part of the Ichthus. Wishing the best and praying for our staff and readers!
1) Beware of Harvard’s liturgies.
We are immersed in a culture that celebrates financial success, personal achievement, and exclusivity without employing them for serving God and others fully. We see celebrations of achievements that are not celebrated by the gospel; Harvard tells us we should be something that the gospel does not. Through seeing commencements, emails, and Facebook posts, we are slowly calibrated to long for something that is often at odds with the gospel’s message of cruciform love and service.
Beware of Harvard’s liturgies and rituals, and surround yourself with Christian messages, stories, and examples of people who have given their lives to serve the neediest. True success is defined by God Himself commending us at the Last Day; all else is gaining the world but losing our souls.
2) Pray constantly.
The act of prayer itself fulfills the highest commandment—loving God and others. Pray for others as you see them, pray casually, formally, on your knees, in your head as you walk. Pray when you lust or feel prideful. The world has an incredibly strong erosive force that causes us to lose sight of the grand and instead narrows us into tunnel vision after mere hours of waking up, attending church, or just being alive. Regular prayer at scheduled times throughout the day will work against that and do wonders for your faith.
3) Really serve.
Actually serve by giving up your valuable time, whether for a homeless shelter, food bank, or a church. Why? The more you serve, the more you will become a servant. Develop a habit of prayer and service that will shape your loves and make you more Christlike. It’s the habit of service that will make the big difference, not necessarily any particular action. Remember that loving and serving God and loving and serving others are basically synonymous.
4) Think communally.
Harvard College Faith and Action and the Ichthus are incredibly strong communities that enabled me to mature. Without community, we die—as I learned the hard way at the beginning of college. Following Christ is such a communal endeavor. This is the really awesome privilege of having brothers and sisters to lean on and love!
See you around Harvard and Boston next year!
Henry Li ‘16 is former managing editor of the Ichthus and is working with disabled adults in Boston next year.