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The DNOW retreat this year ran alongside the adult Prepare: Lent retreat. DNOW helped engage students in getting ready for Lent as their parents did the same across campus. And we had a great time!
But that's only part of why we call it a "whole-church retreat." Scrolling through DNOW photos, we see students, parents, college leaders, and host families roller skating, eating, praying, and learning together. We see high schoolers, non-profit organizers, and artists from the surrounding community teaching our workshops. Even our guest speaker, Erik Willits, was home-grown! DNOW was an intergenerational, interdenominational, and very cooperative event. We are thrilled with what the Lord is sowing among us!
The main question of the retreat asked about our treasures. Are we like pirates, who seek and hoard the things of the world? Or can we hear Jesus' call to a higher, deeper trust?
One moment of the retreat especially highlighted this for us. On Saturday half of our students chose an art workshop. They drew things which caused them fear and things which caused them peace. For peace, many drew scenes from church and nature. When they drew things that caused them fear and anxiety—"treasures" that were crowding out God's life for them—by far the most repeated image was clocks: clock hands, clock faces, and big swirling numbers. Some drew pictures depicting failure. Many, many drew papers with grades on them.
Seeing these drawings was a difficult and sobering moment. But the exercise was truly the work of Lent—a call to their own healing and to our repentance as the adults who love and care for them. On our "whole-church retreat," this artwork was a heartfelt cry of prayer from our kids, to be made "whole!"
Thank God for this season of retreats. And thank you parents for your support and prayers. Ask your kids what their Lenten practice is. Make them slow down! Let the Holy Spirit use you to allay our young people's fears and re-orient their priorities. Go enjoy nature and beauty, friends and worship. And let's celebrate a blessed Lent together!
Amber NoelAssociate Director of Student Ministry
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