As a teenager, I was one of those overactive church kids. (Surprise, surprise…) Youth group, youth retreats, camp, service projects, helping in the kindergarten Sunday School, choirs… you name it, I was in it.
Back then (hey, 20 years counts as “back then”…), the model for youth programming resembled the old, characteristically Methodist model for any ministry: led and organized by committee. In all my enthusiasm, I was, of course, on the Council on Youth Ministries (COYM), too.
Our COYM was made up only of youth, with our Youth Director and a counselor or two for guidance and help, and we were charged with dreaming up the mission trips, retreats, and even some program themes of study for our youth group. I remember there being great responsibility entrusted to us to not only create a vision for our peers, but also to plan and execute that vision. From those meetings in the temporary-building-in-the-parking-lot-designated-youth-room, I remember vividly our Youth Director saying, “Dream big, guys. Whatever you envision, we can make happen.”
I’m so grateful that this wisdom was planted in me at such a young age, and especially that it was bound to and rooted in my understanding of the nature of God. The point in this encouragement was not that we had endless resources of money, time, or volunteers, or that the counselors didn’t care much about what we did, but that God is sometimes moving in wild and unimaginable ways, and it’s important not to restrict our own vision when discerning the presence and will of God.
This week, as we gather again around the Word and Table, we will hear a pretty unbelievable story of life brought from death—of limited human understanding and expectations broken open by divine power and will. And, we will share in a pretty unbelievable ritual in which life, and grace, and the real presence of God are promised to us in the most ordinary elements of bread and juice.
It can be hard for us, now as responsible, world-worn and-weary adults, to dream big—to open our imaginations to unlimited possibilities. But I pray that this week, at least for this one hour together, we might suspend our disbelief that all things are possible with God, and allow the miracle of God’s handiwork to enliven, inspire, and uplift us.
See you Sunday,