I love the Ball Pit video which you can see by clicking on the photo above or this link. It’s amazing what happens when we let go of our defenses and connect. Several years ago, when I first saw this video, I wondered what would happen if we spent more time and energy as church helping people make these types of connections in the community? When you watch the Ball Pit video above I encourage you to consider what you have in common with those in the video? Both connection and gratitude have been on my mind.
Coming off a weekend at Rainbow Trail I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity we have to make connections in the great outdoors. This past weekend, when I lead the Senior High Retreat at Rainbow Trail, I saw the power of connection. When we let go of our defenses and preconceived notions of one another, exploring what we have in common, amazing things take place. I am filled with gratitude as I reflect on the powerful experiences that took place in the mountains and I wonder how we can keep making those types of connections down the mountain. This week as we head into Thanksgiving I encourage you to both look for the connections you can make with others and practice gratitude for how God has created you as fully you.
We showed the Ball Pit video as an opener to one of my retreat presentations. Our theme for the weekend was “Fully Known”. Together we sought ways to connect more deeply with God, ourselves and one another. In a conversation while walking to a meal, a young man shared with me how his experience at camp is one of lowered defenses and greater openness to deeper connections with God and other people. I was struck by the of insight of this seventeen year old. This week as I have reflected upon the time at camp I am filled with gratitude and hope.
The generous support and investment of Lord of the Hills in young people and in my ministry as your pastor, helps make these events possible. When we get to gather in the mountains with over 140 high school youth along with caring adults and camp counselors, we get to make deep connections. This weekend connected us to one another in bible study, song, crafts, hikes, meals, laughter, shared memories.
As you take time to give God thanks in this season of Thanksgiving, I invite you also to ponder how God is calling you to become more deeply connected; connected to God, to your own inner self, to other people. “Fully Known” was our theme song. Click on this link and take a few minutes to listen. We sang this together many times and the words of the refrain have come back to me this week:
I'm fully known and loved by You
You won't let go no matter what I do
And it's not one or the other
It's hard truth and ridiculous grace
To be known fully known and loved by You
I'm fully known and loved by You.
- Tauren Wells “Fully Known”
This coming weekend we start a new year in the church with the Season of Advent- waiting, watching, hoping, praying. Check out what is new in our sanctuary. Join in generous giving for our 2019 -BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) as part of our Advent Conspiracy- Giving more. Join in Wednesday 7pm Holden Evening Prayer. Choose a words for 2020.
Each year, I choose my Spirit Word as we start Advent. Click on this link if you would like information on what that process looks like and how you might engage in choosing a word for yourself. When you choose a word for 2020 consider sharing your word in the comments to this blog. You never know when a word that you are choosing to walk with you might connect you with someone else might inspire them, invite them into holy curiosity.
There are so many ways we get to practice knowing and being known. This weekend I will be sharing my Spirit word for 2020 in worship as together we keep watch, we wait, we worship fully in preparation to receive fresh and anew the great gift of God’s love in the flesh. And who knows, maybe in 2020 we will have some sort of Ball Pit experiment we try out to encourage and engage our community in connecting with one another? Be sure to follow Lord of the Hills on our Facebook page starting December 1 to participate in an Advent count up toward Christmas as we connect through the ABC’s of gratitude. We are in this together and God knows we need one another.