I was inspired by the Educate Magis project “The World That Christ Desires.” I saw in it a way to connect my sophomore scripture course to the real world. My students had looked at Gen 1-2 and the Epic of Gilgamesh. I was trying to break open their minds to the idea that the biblical narrative described the Judeo-Christian understanding of what God intended the world and human life to be. So: Given the world that we live in, how is it not like the world God intended? What kind of world might we live in five hundred years from now if we took seriously that we are the Body of Christ, bringing into being the Kingdom of God? This was not the way my sophomores were accustomed to envision themselves in the world.
First, I had them do a guided meditation from the Exercises on the Trinity looking down on the world, viewing our lives in good and ill. That was Day 1.
Day 2, I had them break into groups. The students had to list how they saw the Trinity viewing bad things going on in the world, and good things going on in the world. Next, they had to envision what the world might look like in 500 years if the world was the world that “Christ desires.” Groups had to make lists and describe what they understood to be the world as it is not yet, and the world Christ desires 500 years from now. I collected the group lists. Some groups had to do the exercise again. They were having trouble articulating what was wrong now and what could be in the future. The second time around, everyone had a good list of what is and what could be.
Next, students were instructed to do a creative piece of how they envisioned the future. Some wrote poetry, some did drawings, some wrote short essays. This was the part of the exercise about which I had the most trepidation. However, the students came through with wonderful poems, art work and essays. I was incredibly gratified.
I asked the students their reaction to the process. One said he found it “profound.” I was amazed. A sophomore saying that he found the exercise “profound,” and transformative. Another comment was that it helped the students connect what is going on in the world today with scripture. I left them with the thought that the Risen Lord is acting in them to transform the world into the Kingdom of God.
Thank you for designing this project. It worked beautifully in getting my students to connect scripture with their spirituality, with the world as it is today, and what the world could be if they took seriously that they are the Body of Christ called to transform the world.