OK, so it has been WAY too long since we last posted. I couldn’t believe a week and a half had gone by. The end of the school year can kind of get like that – you are in the middle of Messy Game Night and the next thing you know you are staring down the barrel of finals week with graduation screaming at you in a few days.
And in the week and a half, so many things have happened. So many, in fact, that we are going to do a photo-rich post to help catch you up on all the haps, so feel free to scroll as you see fit – there’s a Disney trip, some Messy Game Night photos, and recognition of graduating seniors. It’s been a busy couple weeks.
First, the Confirmation class had their trip to Disney the week before Memorial Day. Always a lot of fun, this year 20 of the class’s participants were able to head to Anaheim for the monster day at the park, arriving before the gates open at 8:00am and staying until they kick us out at midnight. 16+ hours at the happiest place on earth. Just click on the photo below to be whisked away to the album!
Messy Game Night Photos!
Each year we end YOW with our annual Messy Game Night. It tends to get a little crazy. This year we had two rounds – one with the 6th graders and a second one with the 7th and 8th graders. There was enough of a mess that we were praying the parking lot down into the wee hours of night (and I’d be lying if I denied that, in the daylight, the parking lot still looked a little traumatized). Check out the album by clicking on the image below – although be you might want to make sure you have a plastic rain poncho on.
Graduation Is Upon Us!
Last, but certainly not least, we honored our graduating seniors in worship Sunday morning.
At the end of the week for some, and next week for others, graduation happens.
I mentioned in worship that graduation is always a bittersweet moment for those of us in Youth Ministry. In some small measure, we experience what parents experience each Spring. Over a number of years we come to see you as a part of our lives. We have been on journeys together. In some instances we have been through difficult times together.
And now graduates will, in some senses, move on. In reality, graduates are taking the next steps of independence – of life as they, not their parents or teachers or coaches or (gasp) their pastors, envision it.
I remember how excited I was to take those steps. How excited I was to eat what I wanted to eat (not that I cooked it or cleaned up after it while eating in the dining halls), take the classes that I wanted to take (within the guidelines provided by the school on which areas I needed to take classes in order to leave the institution with a degree), and do what I wanted to do (while also doing the things I was responsible for doing, including assignments for class as well as showing up for jobs I held on campus).
I guess the truth of it is that graduates will lead the lives they lead, but also learn that those lives are accountable to others. They are accountable to those we care about. They are accountable also to ourselves – to the decisions we make and the consequences (good or bad) that those decisions reap.
That reality, is one we might forget from time to time: this isn’t OUR life we are leading. We are sharing life, at all times, with those around us. We are, in fact, sharing life as part of Creation.
When Paul talks about living as the Body of Christ, I think that resonates not only within the Church, but in Creation as a whole. Our decisions affect the environment for others. Our decisions affect the work place others inhabit. Our decisions affect the baggage we will take with us as we enter into relationships, make career choices, shape our children. To be a part of that body, as part of the image of God, is to look at the Body of Christ – indeed to look at Creation – in love, and (here’s the important part) act accordingly.
The lives we lead, they are at our choosing. But, those lives are not without connection to the rest of the Body.
On a final, and arguably tangential, note. One thing I love about graduation time is that it signals a time of wise (or wisdom-attempting) commencement speeches. Here are a few worth listening to, a couple from this Spring and a couple from last year.
And here is a commencement address from a year ago, when Conan O’Brien spoke at Dartmouth. There is a lot of funny stuff here, but if you are looking for the meat of the address, skip ahead to 16:20….
And here’s one from Stephen Colbert last year at Northwestern. There are some similar themes to Conan’s, and Colbert even references Conan’s commencement speech at one point. Again, if you are strapped for time or concerned primarily with the “serious” part, skip ahead to 12:40….
And finally, this year’s commencement speech from Barack Obama (I’m going to assume you don’t need a link for that one), who spoke at Barnard College, an institution of under 2,500 students. I have a place in my heart from small universities, having myself gone to a smaller school (though mine was co-ed while Barnard, I believe is an all-women’s college). This is an enthusiastic bunch, and they cheer a lot as Mr. President is introduced. His speech actually starts about 9 minutes into the video….