A week ago I was in Wildwood with an amazing group of Senior High Youth. (see previous blog post.)
Our retreat ended Wednesday.
Thursday and part of Friday was with a bunch of talented kids learning a musical to lead worship this weekend. Lunch on Friday was full of laughs!
Then the LYF assembly began.
I met some amazing Senior High Youth. Over the course of 2+ days we laughed, sang, prayed, danced, talked about what the church looks like to us and what we'd like it to look like, shared serious changes we'd like to see in the world and risks we might have to take to make some of those changes happen.
I took time to look at these two posters before heading to the dance last night. Truth be told, I was in tears as I read the changes and healing that these youth wish to see in their lives and their world. It's clear from this poster that life and faith are intersecting in their lives. Life is happening and the world is a challenging (and sometimes messy place to be.) I'm truly thankful for the honesty in these notes. I continue to pray that the writers of these notes know that they are not alone that there is a community of faith that surrounds them and is there to journey with them.
The risks that people are thinking about taking as just as real as the changes they wish to see.
I'm thankful for the church, in our communities and in our world. Congregations are places where these amazing young people can be to ask tough questions, struggle with real issues and share experiences of life, service, love and grace.
Right now I am officially exhausted. BUT, I'm also incredibly inspired, fired up and excited about the church here and now and the church in the weeks, months and years ahead because there are passionate youth worshipping, serving, building relationships with God and one another all out of the love and grace that God has given to the world.
Our weekend wrapped up with worship. We came together to sing, pray, hear God's word and share in the Lord's Supper.
The altar was covered with the sins we brought to God this day, it was wrapped with the changes and healing we wish to see in the world and it held the body and blood of Christ. We were strengthened by this meal for service and love in the world.
Filled with joy, exhaustion and hope....I'll head to bed. Giving thanks to God for this fantastic week with amazing youth. The new IS now.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Retreat....definitions 2 and 3 for this word according to Miriam Webster online are as follows:
: a place of privacy or safety : refuge
: a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director
I just returned home from the Senior High Beach Retreat in Wildwood, NJ. When you think Wildwood, maybe this comes to mind.
Not, however, a 3 day get away with 8 high school youth, 3 adults and some 'rustic hotel' accommodations. I'm in the process of catching my breath from 3 days of sand, sun, rain, song, laughter, games, mini m&ms, ice cream, tacos, paris whales, Bible study, waves, go-carts, beach ducks, long conversations, deepening relationships, service, prayer, and killer bunnies.
We lived together with these expectations:
I like to think of the last 3 days as a re-treat. I was treated again and again to fresh and new moments of seeing God in unexpected places...as 8 youth from 4 school districts welcomed little kids into their fold as they played in the sand at the beach.
I can't put the entire weekend into words, but these youth are amazing. They are Spirit led, full of joy and excitement and just a complete pleasure to be with. I am so blessed to be called to serve these youth as they continue through high school and to see them shape and mold the youth ministry that happens at Trinity. I am ready to walk, run and sing at the top of my lungs as our journey as God's people continues in the years to come.
I'm truly excited for the ideas and hopes they have for the future including, but not limited to community outreach, service projects within the congregation and without, partnering up with other youth for fun and fellowship, leading worship and mentoring the incoming youth group members.
This was truly a retreat...a chance to get away ... to a place to just be ourselves - our wonderfully God made selves - and just be the body of Christ together.
Thank you, Senior High Youth (you know who you are) and for those who weren't able to join us, we are ready for more ideas, joy, enthusiasm, friends, passion and leadership with the future of youth ministry at Trinity.
Thanks, all, for an amazing 3 days.
Until the next amazing moment we share in God's beautiful creation and in the community of Christ, holding you in prayer.
PS. This would not have been possible without 2 other things.
a) The love and support from an amazing congregation who loves, cares for and supports the youth of Trinity. (THANKS!)
b) Last, but never least, the 3 chaperones who joined us on this adventure. Thanks for sharing 3 days of your week away from home to make a difference in the life of some crazy-fun youth!