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This past weekend Student Ministry took 61 middle and high school students, 7 adult volunteers, and 6 college Student Ministry alumni to Mt. Lebanon Retreat Center for "Whole," a two-day experiment in cultivating a quiet soul, and a sense of wholeness in God’s love.
The agenda, a simple rhythm of meals, prayer, and play, was so stripped-down it initially made some of the students nervous. “What will I do with all that free time?” some asked. "Won't I get bored?"
Leaders and students were prepared to expect and even welcome that tension. Boredom is not as a problem to be fixed, but an experience of our own God-given limits. We asked them to watch what happened when they let themselves be free for a few hours from the pressure to “do something useful.”
Soon students were snoozing, swinging on swingsets, and talking leisurely with mentors and friends. They laughed and yelled over sports and spontaneous games. Guest artists led workshops on music, art-making, and discipleship. We made a bit more room for God to speak and walk with us. On Sunday morning, we received Eucharist before going home.
We asked the students to tell us what they felt God doing. Some of the testimonies they gave were powerful, and indicative of the world we're in:
One student said simply, “I took a nap!” at which the rest of the students burst into spontaneous applause.
We were bowled over by the depth and simplicity of the Holy Spirit’s quiet work this weekend, the work only He can do as we take a break from doing ours.
The Rev. Taylor IshiiYoung Adult Ministry
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