One of many quite a few hats I put on in my life is overseeing the kids and youth ministries at a progressive Christian church in Colorado Springs. This job is difficult at instances, but in addition extremely fulfilling. My favourite a part of this job is working with middle- and high-school college students.
Positive, youngsters might be difficult, however they’re additionally fascinating, passionate and considerate. Gathering with them for 90 minutes on Sunday evenings, whether or not just about or in particular person (socially distanced and with masks on, in fact) makes my soul mild up.
We start every assembly with a “examine in” I borrowed from one other youth chief; it’s referred to as “Wow, Pow, How.” This train each serves as an icebreaker exercise and provides the youth a technique to mirror on their week. The “wow” is one thing good that they skilled; the “pow” is one thing not so nice; and the “how” is a means they noticed or felt God/the divine/the universe working of their lives.
Whereas the teenagers typically don’t have an issue developing with examples for the “wow” and “pow” parts of this train, the “how” usually proves to be far harder for them to wrap their heads round. Even for adults, this is usually a difficult and considerably slippery idea.
Nonetheless, whether or not you consider in God/a better energy or not, I’m satisfied this train is usually a useful observe. It reminds us of the great issues which can be going down throughout us and conjures up gratitude. It suggests there’s a synchronicity to the world and that we’re all related — each to 1 one other and to the universe. It permits us to mirror on prior occasions and think about them by way of a lens that’s much less mundane and extra magical. It helps us really feel much less alone on the earth.
Let me share with you among the strategies I provide the youth as they consider this matter, and some of the unbelievable solutions I’ve had the privilege of listening to them give.
First, the reply to “How have I seen God or the universe working in my life?” doesn’t need to be tremendous religious. I believe we too usually draw boundary traces between the bodily world and the religious or supernatural one. And but, if — as we within the Christian custom declare — God is with us, then there really isn’t any boundary between the 2. Because the great author Barbara Brown Taylor says in her e book, “An Altar within the World: A Geography of Religion,” “Human beings might separate issues into as many piles as we want — separating spirit from flesh, sacred from secular, church from world. However we shouldn’t be shocked when God doesn’t acknowledge the distinctions we make between the 2.”
Second, I inform the teenagers they don’t want to make use of “church language” or vocabulary to explain their expertise. Not everybody was raised within the church; not everybody shares the identical religion custom. I inform the children they’ll simply use regular, on a regular basis phrases to speak a few second or occasion that felt particular or electrically charged.
And at last, I guarantee them it’s OK in the event that they don’t use the phrase “God” or the identify of any deity as they share their expertise now. Drawing once more on the Christian custom, we’re referred to as to minister to one another, to be the arms and toes of Christ on the earth, to cross the peace of Christ.
After listening to these three strategies, I see the youth visibly calm down, and the tales start to tumble out. One teen tells about path working by way of the woods along with his cross nation staff, and feeling related to each his pals and to nature. One other remembers feeling notably down and lonely at one level, and receiving a textual content message from her good friend — at simply the best time. An eighth grader was within the checkout line on the grocery together with her mother: the girl in entrance of them found she didn’t find the money for to pay her invoice, and this teen’s mom stepped in to pay it for her. One youth says, “I don’t actually have a selected second, however I simply had this sense all week, just like the universe was working for me, working for good. Does that rely?”
Sure, I consider it counts. All of it counts.
So, as you undergo your days, go searching: open your eyes. Peer backstage, into the religious realm. Dare to think about that there’s something greater at work — not simply on the earth, however in your life, too.
Elizabeth Eden is a mother, author, yoga teacher and musician. She lives in Northgate together with her massive, lovely, messy clan. In her free time, she enjoys wine, dystopian novels and documentaries on quantum physics. Ship her concepts and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.