Last week I got to join ten youth from our congregation for the tail end of their Teens in Mission week at Green Lake Bible Camp.
I was there for them–to spend some time with them, to support them, to help drive them back to St. James–but it was pretty great for me, too. Even though I was only there overnight, and even though I went to bed way too late (Pro Tip: S’mores by the lake are always worth staying up for), I came home feeling refreshed and renewed.
It wasn’t just the time I spent gazing at and wading in beautiful Green Lake. (Although that was not bad, either.) It was the time I spent with my people. Every camp staff person I met told me how wonderful these kids are. I already knew this, but after spending a little more time with them, I really, really know it.
These youth were open and engaged. They were fully present in whatever they were doing, whether it was singing the same camp songs I sang in my youth many moons ago, or interacting with the younger campers, or coming up with skits and puns for the variety show, or roasting the perfect marshmallow, or sharing transformation stories. They were full of energy, enthusiasm, hope, joy, and love.They were their whole, real selves. They brought everything to the table. Gifts, struggles, hopes, fears.
Sometimes we hear or say, “The youth are the future of the church.” Of course we hope that this is true. But more importantly, the youth are the right now of the church. They are part of the body of Christ. They are already here: living into their baptismal promises, loving God and neighbor, roasting marshmallows and singing at the top of their lungs.
The theme at Green Lake this summer is God on the Loose. Here’s the theme verse:
“Look at the nations, and see! Be astonished! Be astounded! For a work is being done in your days , that you would not believe if you were told.” -Habakkuk 1:5
Let that be our theme for the summer, too. Let’s look around–at neighbors and strangers, enemies and friends, young and old–and let’s be astonished and astounded. Let’s look for God on the loose.
Where have you seen God on the loose lately?
(Pro Tip: I am actually asking. Let us know in the comments!)