Student Sunday (also known as the Universal Day of Prayer for Students) falls on 17 February this year.
Student Sunday is coordinated by the World Student Christian Federation and has been celebrated since 1898, making it one of the oldest ecumenical days of prayer.
This year, the worship resources are taking the theme of Wondering and Wandering, and exploring the topics of prayer and pilgrimage.
A resource pack is available to download at https://www.movement.org.uk/resources/student-sunday. It includes notes on the lectionary readings for 17 February. You can find suggestions of hymns that reflect the themes of these readings on our lectionary page for that Sunday.
Other hymns on “Wondering and Wandering”
A good place to start with is with Charles Wesley’s great hymn Where shall my wondering soul begin? (StF 454). Already an active and diligent Christian, on 21 May 1738 Charles Wesley had a wholly fresh experience of God’s grace and love. He expressed his response in this “conversion hymn”, which marked a staging post – a new beginning – on his spiritual journey. It begins with an overwhelming sense of “How am I going to manage this?” – a question many of us can often identify with – and moves to a certain affirmation of Christ’s love that invites us to believe, and of Christ’s arms that embrace all.
For a hymn that reminds us that the Christian life is one of journeying, try Joy Dine’s popular hymn, God who sets us on a journey (website only). This and other suggestions are included in our worship resource Treading the path: hymns of “moving on”, which takes as its starting point Rosemary Wakelin’s The world we thought we knew is changing fast (website only): “As for you, dynamic, Pilgrim God”, she writes:
you do not linger on the path well trod,
but ever lead your pilgrim people on
to risk an unknown future with your Son.
Acknowledging that wandering/being a pilgrim often has it difficult times (as several writers for SCM’s resource acknowledge), Jan Berry’s Deep in the darkness a starlight is gleaming (StF 625) is helpful, as is Sue McCoan’s You call us, as you called the Twelve (website only), with its wonderful description of “Your raggle-taggle pilgrim band” that has to work through “failings, new starts, hopes, delays…”
Another fine hymn about trust on the journey is Robert Bridges’ All my hope on God is founded (StF 455), which is also one of the hymns suggested to reflect the lectionary reading from Jeremiah (above). You may also consider a number of hymns included in the Our Journey with God section of Singing the Faith (StF455—488) – for example:
Come with me, come wander (StF 462) – a Wild Goose hymn (John Bell/Graham Maule)
God it was who said to Abraham, “Pack your bags and travel on” (StF 464) – also a John Bell/Graham Maule hymn
John Glynn’s gently reassuring I watch the sunrise lighting in the sky (But you are always close to me) (StF 469)
And never underestimate the profound message of Sydney Carter’s jaunty One more step along the world I go (StF 476)
We are not alone
The calling to wander, to up sticks and find those places where we can live most in tune with God’s dream for us and the world (e.g. Will you come and follow me, StF 673) – this wandering life is not undertaken in isolation but in the company of others. (See for example Adam Spiers’ account of walking the Camino in the SCM resource.) Some hymns that remind us that we are part of a wider church a family, however alone, vulnerable, homesick or scared we may feel include:
Community of Christ who make the cross your own (StF 681)
God is here! As we his people meet to offer praise and prayer (StF 25)
Jesus, stand among us (StF 30)
One human family God has made (StF 687)