I am happy to say that my first weekend at Trinity was ah.may.zing.
The uber-cool part about that has to do with the fact that I spent my first weekend at the Harrisburg YouthQuake with 418 middle school youth....30+ being from Trinity.
On Friday evening as youth and their parents congregated at the church, I thought to myself, "Woah, self, what is going on here...all these parents are trusting that you are a responsible adult and you are ready to journey with this motley crew for the weekend. Can this really be happening?!?"
I asked two of the youth at the start if they would help me out. I said, "I'm new here and here we are in a group of hundreds of youth that I've never met before. Please let me know if I accidentally sit with the wrong church group. You can point at me and laugh for a bit, but then, please come rescue me." They said, okay...and kept a good eye on me all weekend. I should add, that they said if I did end up in the wrong group that they would point and laugh just for a bit before coming to my rescue...
Luckily for me, the rest of the youth did the same. I tried my hardest to learn names (thankfully there are several Katies) of both the youth and adults with us for the weekend. I danced my heart out, ate like a middleschooler, prayed, and laughed so hard that I cried.
One of the many highlights from the weekend included our first 'celebration' or big group gathering. As the music was rockin, we began to sing and dance, and one youth looked at me and said, 'You look happy.' I smiled back and said, 'I am happy!' And that's when I realized what was actually happening...God's love, joy and grace must have been emanating from me and I hadn't even noticed. I was purely happy realizing I was singing and dancing and celebrating God's presence in the lives of every youth and adult in that room. I though to myself, "Self, God has called you to this place. God has gifted you to be present with youth in their faith journey. God has prepared you for this place and brought you here." As those thoughts swirled around in my head, I thought too, about my call to ordained ministry. While I completely love spending time with youth, I feel called to preach and preside at Holy Communion. I thought about how to share/transform/express the energy in this place back in the sanctuary at Trinity. And not in a separate youth service sort of way....but in the presence of the services that are already in place.
Sometimes I feel that I am gifted with energy and passion and I'm not afraid to use it...but in my previous call, even as people complemented me on that energy, when it wasn't being reciprocated (especially in the worship setting) I began to get drained...I think it was easy for the energy, for God's love and joy and grace to flow this past weekend, because it was flowing in and out of people all around me.
My mom and I talked (when I was home a week ago) about passion and energy in worship. It is definitely there, but how do you capture/encourage/express it in a way that welcomes others to do so as well?
Food for thought, I guess....and speaking of food, I am quite looking forward to the Chocolate Festival on Saturday. A great community event, with a side of chocolate. As the cows would say at Chocolate World, "It's the milk chocolate!"