Friday, June 17, 2016

The Final Post of the 2016 Youth Music Mission

The Day's Events

Today is pretty straightforward.  We got up and left the hotel at 9:00.  As I mentioned before, there was no power when we left...and yet we managed to leave on time.  Once again, we have been plagued by worse-than-expected traffic, which you'd think we would expect by now.

We stopped for lunch, and I ate at a place called Cookout.  You might know the place, but I had never eaten there.  It was a pretty good burger.  When we got back on the bus and kept going.

More traffic.

We stopped for our final devotional, where we wrote postcards, evaluated the trip, and had our final devotional, in which we covered verses 4 and 5 of the Summons.

Will you love the "you" you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you've found to reshape the world around,
through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

Lord your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In Your company I'll go where Your love and footsteps show.
Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

These verses are my favorite.  They talk of embracing who we are, even if we'd rather hide some of it.  They talk of acting out of love rather than fear and reshaping the world around us (which went really well after we watched Pay It Forward this morning on the bus).

And then the last verse.  It is important in my call, and every time I sing it I am reminded of my own call.  And this week.  We have walked together.  In walking together, we have walked with God and followed in the footsteps of Christ.  It has been a good week.

We sang the song from beginning to end.  I've done music-based devotionals for which the choir didn't really sing.  But every time we sang in devotional, the choir sang...and it sang well.  Very rewarding to be a part of it.

Back on the road, with any luck we'll be back at the church around 9:45pm.  Stepping off the bus, this one will be in the books (except of course for singing at 11am on Sunday...when you should really come to the sanctuary).

Final Thoughts

As the week went on I became more and more aware that our program this year paralleled our mission perfectly.  It began with a call to action.  It continued by acknowledging the struggles and difficulties of taking that action.  It ended by celebrating that we don't walk this way alone.

You know how I am.  I'm not really satisfied with "You'll never walk alone."  It's not specific, and it's ultimately not helpful when we talk about walking with Jesus.  What does that mean anyway?  Has Jesus ever put His hand in mine?  Has he ever picked me up when I have fallen or carried me through a time I could not stand on my own?  If you're thinking about the guy in the robe with the red sash and beard, well, no.  No He hasn't.

And yet all this week, He has.  Some of you have written me and asked how I do it.  Long hours, little sleep.  Constant demands.  Part of the answer is that this is the only week out of the  year I drink Coca Cola.  But more than that, the youth and chaperones on this trip carry me.  I feel His touch every time they give me a fist bump on the way off the bus.  He picks me up when I mess up and they make it work anyway.  And when it gets really hard, when I am afraid I can't keep going, He carries me on their shoulders.  That may sound melodramatic, but it has happened this week.

The truth is that this week reminds me why I do the work I do.  It is a week during which I can focus on ministry.  I can see how we are making a difference.  I can enjoy building relationships.  With the choir.  With the chaperones.  With the folks we meet.  And through all that with the Divine.

Decatur First, you can be proud of your youth choir and chaperones.  They have done great work this week.  And now that we've crossed into Georgia and I'm looking forward to seeing my family, I'll say one last time...

Cowden out.

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