Our gathering will soon be ended, where will we go and what will we do?
You all just answered it in your heads, didn’t you?
For those of you who aren’t frequently in the Sanctuary, or who read these blogs but don’t actually go to our church (hello to my mom and her friends), this question is asked at the end of every Sanctuary service, and the response by the congregation is, “we will go out and be God’s people in the world.”
This charming benediction is something of a motto around this church, and the language of “going out and being God’s people” can be heard woven into many a board of stewards meeting, UMW luncheon, Sunday school class, and youth lesson.
This summer, our theme that will shape our programming on Sunday mornings and during mission trips is “Go & Be,” based on that very benediction. We will be diving into what it actually means to “go out and be God’s people” by exploring how where God calls us to go shapes who we will be, and how who we are is the grounding of where we are called to go.
In our Christian walk it can be easy to feel forced to choose between faith being about orthodoxy (right belief) or orthopraxis (right action), between a focus on our internal spiritual development and acts of service and justice. Teenagers in particular, can sometimes lean too heavily on the side of praxis, just as several retired people in my grace group have lamented that they feel like their faith is too “selfish” and focused on their own well-being.
This summer, we seek to establish a fundamental connection between the orthodoxy and the orthopraxis, between the going and the being, by reinforcing to teenagers all summer that what they go and do with their hands must shape their hearts, and what they believe with their hearts must have an impact on what they do with their hands.
The concept is relatively simple, but absolutely crucial to helping teenagers have the skills to build their lives based on their beliefs and for them to be able to process their life experience through the lens of their beliefs.
Every day we will ask them two questions, questions that I encourage you to carry into your summer with you as well:
- Today, where did God ask you to go?
- Today, who did God ask you to be?
By framing all that we do in the context that the Holy Spirit is always calling us not only into greater growth in ourselves, but greater engagement in the world, we can hopefully begin to see the ways that all of those “asks” fit together and be ever more able to see what it truly means to go out and be God’s people in the world, after all.
So friends, let’s pack up our air mattresses and pb&j sandwiches because summer is coming, and we’ve got places to go and people to be.
Director of Youth Ministries