This week, more than 500 students from across Canada are immersing themselves in community scripture studies. Led by Inter-Varsity Campus Ministers, the students are spending time digging into the Gospel of Mark or the first 11 chapters of Genesis. They are pondering the passages alone and then bringing their observations, questions and applications into small and large group discussions. By the end of their seven days together, these students will be changed.
Inter-Varsity has been hosting MARK camps for university students for more than a decade. Over the years, close to 5,000 students have been shaped by Scripture in this particular way. One of them is an Ontario College of Art and Design University student named Joyce.
Weaving art and Scripture together
Like many students today, Joyce struggled with emotional stress and anxiety. In addition, she endured physical pain from scoliosis. When she first decided to attend Mark Camp, she remembers hoping to “feel cared for, loved and comforted.”
God answered her prayer and then gave her an additional gift – artistic inspiration. Following her Mark camp experience in 2016, Joyce began creating art that reflected her reading of Scripture. Last winter, she mounted an exhibit of her artwork in a downtown Toronto gallery and coffee shop. A centerpiece of the show was a large wall hanging called “Marks on Mark”, which Joyce created by hand writing the whole of the book of Mark out on newsprint and then weaving it together as a tapestry, or as she calls it, “a visual parable.”
You wouldn’t know the tapestry has the entire Gospel of Mark written on it unless you were to unravel it, explains Joyce. “Like art, if we don’t engage with the Word, we won’t understand it.”
Creating this piece and others for the art show was therapeutic for Joyce, but it wasn’t what brought true healing to her life. Art, she says, “doesn’t solve anything. It just helps you identify the problem in a more concrete and visual way. If art is the question, then Scripture is the answer.”
Nonbelievers curious about Scripture
This week, Inter-Varsity staff are inviting students to seek the answers to all of life’s questions through Scripture. Most of the students attending MARK camps are already following Jesus. But surprisingly, each year a number of nonbelieving students choose to attend as well. They come because they are part of an Inter-Varsity community on campus, are curious about who Jesus is, or are seeking answers to life’s questions
Pray for Open Hearts
From April 30-May 7, we are hosting seven MARK camps across Canada. Students from British Columbia to Newfoundland are gathering together to hear from God and learn from his Word. Please pray with us that everyone who participates, students and staff alike, will discover more of God’s love and purpose for their lives.