So this last week I think I experienced peace.
I’ve been working on cultivating peace within and in how I am here at the church, and in relationships, and within self. I understand peace to be not only the active work of justice (as without justice there can be no peace, and vice versa), but as the absence of conflict and most importantly, the absence of fear. And last week, I experienced peace. I’ve also called last week the Reign of God in action.
There’s not enough room to fully explain the magic and movement of the Christian Youth Leadership Seminar in the last couple years. First, let me say thank you to you, oh Midway Hills, who have equipped and blessed me to continue in my area and regional youth work even as a senior pastor; it is recharging always even as it is exhausting. It is important and seed-planting and fruit-harvesting and beautiful. This last week, I saw peace overcome the greatest of fears and conflicts, and I saw justice done in that beautiful enoughy, win-win kind of way that I’ve seen most commonly in the church.
To make a long story shorter than it should be, I saw a lot of youth die up in Ceta Glen. Wait, no, and yes. They died in the understanding that what has come before in forms of tradition and groove might need to die for something new. They worked together to express truths–both positive and negative–about where they were and where they felt they were being led. They played stupid games (THE OLYMPICS WERE SO COOL, Y’ALL! WE BUILT JAVELINS) and intentionally worshiped and through the whole week conflict and fear, when they reared their inevitable heads, were dealt with, and overall, this chill, beautiful calm reigned over the camp.
I’d love to take credit for it, but it wasn’t me. I’d love to point only to the council I serve on, but it wasn’t just us. The campers? Yes and no. The adults serving the campers? Partially, but not wholly. Instead, the Holy Spirit worked in what we were doing.
Over the next four weeks, we’ll be giving God a chance. The heart of God might be best explained as Peace, Mercy, Reconciliation and Love; four things that seem very similar but are different enough to be preached on, even if they all point to the death and resurrection of Jesus called Christ. The questions we might ask this week are: Is peace possible? Is peace worth it? What does it look like? And can it happen today, tomorrow, or in the next five or fifty years?
But I might be tipping my hand too early. I don’t think I am, but, you never know. I am excited to preach to you this Sunday, and I look forward to seeing you then.