This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to join with youth and young adults from across the Maritimes for a time of learning, growing, worshiping and playing. For many of the early years, ministry with children and youth was very much a focus for me and, in particular, these gatherings at the Annual Meeting of Maritime Conference. I have not been active in these events now for a few years and this weekend reminded me just how blessed I have been by the youth in my life. In the fall Adam and I agreed to be Chaplains for the 2019 gathering of the Intermediates At Council (youth aged 12-15) . We joined the planning team and spent time creating what would be the worship experience for the weekend. Then on Thursday of last week, along with 56 youth and 18 leaders, I jumped back in with both feet!
Seek, Love, Walk
The theme for the weekend was “Seek, Love, Walk” based on that wonderful passage from Micah
“What does the Lord require of you? To seek justice, love kindness and to walk humbly with your God”.
Each day was devoted to one of these aspects with guest speakers, worship, music and activities dedicated to helping us explore more fully what this looks like in our daily living.
Day 1: Walking humbly with God
For our worship experience we decided to do things in reverse beginning with “walking humbly with God”. Over the course of the weekend we would create a work of art that would be divided among participants at the end. With a blank canvas before us we made footprints as we talked about our spiritual journey and what being held in Divine love means for us. We shared how we draw on that power that is around us and within us to wade through the waters of life. Our footprints were many coloured representing the diversity among us and the mosaic that is the people of God.
Day 2: Loving Kindness
On day two we shared what loving kindness looks like and how important it is for us to treat each other with love and respect. We heard how random acts of kindness have changed the course of peoples lives and that sometimes we may not even be aware of how our actions will affect another. The participants added confetti to the canvas representing the need to throw kindness like confetti and change the world in which we live.
Day 3: The Meaning of Justice
On day three we discerned the meaning of justice. These talks included issues like climate change, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, abortion rights just to mention a few. Each participant added words to the canvas that reflected the desire to pursue justice and live into the dream that was Jesus’ dream – a world where there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female but all are one and the barriers of race, creed, gender, culture are all broken down.
Our Final Worship
During our final worship we gathered in small groups around a circle and joined together in communion. Not communion in the traditional sense for we did not use bread and wine. Instead, we shared grapes, the fruit of the vine, and were reminded that we are fed for the journey by the presence of Divine among us. We then planted seeds and proclaimed that we are chosen and sent out to plant seeds of kindness and justice in the world. As we left each person was gifted with a portion of the canvas that we had created over the weekend. This was to remind them that they are always part of something bigger. That each individual, while leaving to head in different directions, are now part of a community and always connected.
Energizing and Draining
The weekend was energizing and draining! I never cease to be amazed at the depth of spirit present in our youth! Sometimes we get caught up in our own issues and in our own tiredness that we fail to see the spirit moving around us.
While our youth may worship differently, congregate at times other than Sunday mornings, be less likely to sit in meetings, they are dedicated, engaged and very much proclaimers of the gospel.
So, once again, my spirit is renewed and my journey changed. And, BONUS, I think I lost about 10lbs from walking, dancing, and playing!!!
My prayer for you, is that you too will recognize spirit as it weaves in, and through and among you; that you will be empowered to walk the walk of Jesus; and know that you are part of something greater than yourself, connected and creating the mosaic that is Divine.
© 2019 Rev. Valerie Peyton Kingsbury. All rights reserved