Posts Tagged ‘grace’

all around you?(2)

October 17, 2008 1 comment

so i have been reading this poem a lot since last week and i have been thinking a lot about it too. i always find poetry quite a bizarre thing- there’s so much going on in a poem; some of it jumps straight out at you and other things take their time to become clear and then you have a wee “ooh” moment.

this past week has been really busy. sometimes it’s hard to see things in the busy times and i often feel it’s during the busy times that you are wanting to see, you are wanting to absorb everything but then everything just sort of passes you by…sometimes i can see god working so clearly in the world, my life, friends and family. i can see him in my church, all the change that is happening there and in the fellowship that has built up so strongly over the past few months. and yeah, i can see him in the pain but at the same time it’s hard. it’s in the pain i should reach out but then what if you feel so unworthy of this love? what if you just want to run away despite knowing that there is grace waiting to meet you? i would like a rewind button but i don’t think you get those. love is overwhelming; i have experienced it so much this week on so many levels, from so many people. unconditional love…i can’t get my head round it. and it’s selfish, but i seem to be running away from it in my overwhelmed state. i know i should be doing the exact opposite and the really bizarre thing is; i still can. it’s never going to go away. maybe the only thing holding me back from really seeing and feeling is myself.

I listen for your word
and hear nothing.

And sometimes
you make so much noise
I can hear nothing else.”


hum. this needs more thoughtage.

End of part one…

September 9, 2008 4 comments

I’m now back from horrific driving experience of the year and am back to thinking about Youth Assembly 2008. I think I am one of many that feel that going to youth assembly each year is like coming home which, I guess, is a slightly bizarre statement in that we only spend one weekend of the entire year there. But I reckon the time spent there is irrelevant and home to most people is where they feel accepted for who they are; a place full of love and grace. There is always a big build up to the event and the excitement spread by everyone is impossible not to catch hold of. In fact it’s very hard getting the bus into uni/town everyday, driving past the Apex and not feeling some kind of excitement about it all. NYA 2008 was really special, it was different. Here are some of my favourite things about it…

  • The people. There are always new people to meet, old faces to see again. It’s amazing how close you can get to people over the tiny space of the weekend. Everyone is so different in where they come from, lifestyles, beliefs and opinions yet in the diversity there is real unity. You are accepted for who you are. It’s sometimes really overwhelming to experience grace on a human level like that and it’s a really special part of the weekend.
  • Space. It really is one of the busiest weekends, there is always something going on and you always want to be part of that something. Yet in that time, there is space. Space to think, space to feel, space to encounter God, space to question. One of the things I really valued this year was the time set aside for silence. Silence is one of these very simple things, yet is so hard to find and is often something people don’t feel comfortable with. In fact, I have never felt comfortable with the silence but have discovered it’s a real time to meet God, to listen to him, to speak to him and to be honest.
  • Christmas Dinner. It’s really good fun yes?! But also, really amazing. Christmas Day for me usually involves working in a hotel, serving people their Christmas dinner, which actually is no bad thing. There is a strange joy in that. But at the same time, it was really special to celebrate, sing and laugh with people I love. 🙂
  • Worship. I really valued the fact there were different worship sessions in the morning. It made worship really comfortable and inclusive, people could worship in a way that was comfortable to them and this to me really, once again, highlighted how important it is to people that the Assembly is an inclusive, accepting place. It was also really cool to be able to explore different styles of worship that I had never experienced before- I saw some of them as a challenge but really rewarding challenges!
  • Openness. This isn’t so much a particular comment about youth assembly 2008, but more a general thing that has developed over time. I remember coming to my first youth assembly in 2005 and being absolutely terrified of everything…People are so open at NYA and I guess this has helped me to become more so. I’ve realised it’s ok not to feel on top of everything, it’s ok to feel terrified and it’s ok not to know things. It’s given me the opportunity to ask ridiculous questions, grow in confidence and feel safe. I learn so much every year about the church, people, God, myself…etc. and this learning has been so valuable.
  • Debates. It was really good being in smaller groups to begin with for each debate this time round. It gave more opportunity for everyone to have a voice in the debate. It gave us a chance to really get to grips with the topic and really understand what we were talking aboutand therefore allowed us to get passionate about the subjects! The debating on Monday was reeeeaaallly good because of this. Thought it was really cool to have lots of council people there- it showed our voice was valued and the church really care what we had to say on issues. Iain was also a super moderator, and to quote Margaret: “Alan McDonald prize for moderating!”. 🙂
  • Enthusiasm. Everyone is so excited about everything! It really is infectious and I always really appreciate how much the staff put into it the event. Everyone is really passionate about it and it makes the event really exciting!
  • Mark Yaconelli. I felt like I could sit and listen to him for ages…in fact, all negative thoughts about sitting on the floor vanished at 9.30am! Think the talk that really challenged me was where he talked of avoiding our weaknesses, the surprise wedding and the prodigal son etc. He always spoke so honestly and in a way that resonated deeply with many…I guess I am still finding his talks quite challenging and I’m not sure I’m able to put any thoughts into words very easily just now.
  • Communion. It’s always such a moving part of the weekend. It was really important to share in the Lord’s Supper with the people we had shared in fellowship with over the weekend. We could share in that knowing we weren’t being judged, we were welcome and there was a place for us.

I guess I could sit and talk about NYA 2008 a whole lot more and there are so many thoughts I cannot really make sense of just now but that should do for now I think. Youth Assembly rocked and I’m missing it a lot right now but am having fun looking at all the photos along with my sunburnt duck!


Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…



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