It was October 10th when Torrey Conference came to save Biola students from midterms. It was also October 10th when many had their eyes and hearts opened to hear God’s word through fourteen diverse speakers, each touching on an aspect of how we, as the body of Christ, can pursue God’s purpose for His Kingdom. Throughout the day, students had the privilege to seek out seven of these speakers who would provide their knowledge and testimony of the phrase, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
Torrey began with Jon Lunde, an author, alumni and faculty at Biola University and Karen Ellis, an author, speaker and activist. The two introduced the conference with what the Kingdom looks like and how we can begin to shape our ideas and our future in pursuit of this end goal. Ellis made it clear that often times, we divide ourselves into categories based on political preferences, ethnicity and culture; however, these things are not ultimate. What is ultimate is Jesus Christ, and the Kingdom of God.
After this first session, students were given the freedom to choose three locations for different breakout sessions. I had the privilege of listening to author and speaker Grace Cho, as well as Robert Harp and Christian Martinez. Although very different, each speaker led their talk with a biblical foundation and eventually honed in on unique ideas that encouraged both men and women and their walk as members of the Kingdom of God.
The last session of the day was packed with André Murillo’s powerful testimony, followed by Karen Ellis’ talk on Wisdom versus Foolishness, both revealing their place in the pursuit of the Kingdom. After, Propaganda shared a spoken word piece. The night ended with speaker Gabriel Salguero.
Salguero led a passionate and hilarious talk on the division within the church. He compares our differences to time. For example, although another person may be in a different time zone, that doesn’t mean their time is not valid or true just because it is not the same time as where you are. He goes on to explain that the world is in a “winter,” meaning a dark place. We, as sons and daughters of the King, must set aside our differences and find the “Christmas” in the winter. The graciousness and love of Christ is still here, despite all that is going on in the world.
The night ended with an impromptu serenade of "Feliz Navidad" led by Salguero, and as we sang, I realized that this is what it's all about. Kingdom is communion. Kingdom is putting our race, our gender, our ethnicity and our opinions aside to sing a Christmas song in the middle of October in a harmonious and serene act of worship toward the same God, our King. It was through this song that I saw Christ and His grace and His glory peek through the shadows of a fallen world, and it was here that I got the slightest glimpse of what Christ’s Kingdom will be.