Praise, Reverence, Admiration.
Amidst the most beautiful fall day, far away from home, we practiced each. We vowed to take a break from measuring ourselves by our strengths or weaknesses. We allowed ourselves to stop measuring God and wondering, “Is God enough of God for you?” We gave ourselves space and time to simply experience God’s glory – a glory that is much more powerful and wonderful than any that we might create on our own.
They illustrated and articulated their praise to God on a ruler that gives a new measurement to our lives.
They walked a cloth labyrinth, praying, “not to my glory” as they walked to the center and then, “to God be the glory” on the way out.
They roamed the woods to find evidence of God’s beauty through binoculars to see the landscape, measuring tapes to account for the trees, and jars to hold rare treasures.
They articulated their own stories of short-comings and redemption through testimonies.
They redeemed the mirrors through which they see themselves through an art project.
They served one another communion and received belonging in a community that radiates God’s glory.
This weekend, we asked ourselves the important questions…
- Who is the one whose measurement has the right to name our worth?
- How many people, organizations, or illusions do we silently empower to create the ruler that measures our value?
- Is it ever possible to measure up to their standards through our attempts at perfection?
Our youth heard the good news this weekend: their worth is beyond measure. There is no weakness that can diminish their worth and there is no strength that can increase it.
They also heard the invitation that Christ offers: give up your attempts to achieve your own glory. Your efforts, no matter how great they are, will never bring you enough glory to satisfy your hunger for it. Instead, lean into God’s glory. Embrace the God who is the Creator of your worth and Redeemer of it. Respond to God’s glory with endless reverence, praise, and admiration. In so doing, your worth will be found and your hunger satisfied.
As one youth pointed out, “that doesn’t make sense.”
“Exactly,” I responded.
The fact that we find our glory by losing it within God’s glory is beyond anything that we could ever comprehend. To this God who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish far more than all we could ask or imagine, we give our worship, our praise, our very lives (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Highland’s Youth Ministry hosted its annual Fall Youth Retreat at Aldersgate Retreat Center in eastern Kentucky this past weekend. Forty-four youth and adults spent the weekend exploring our 2015 Theme, “Beyond Measure.”