Christmas 2 – Friday
I. Am. Stuffed.
Wasted after a massive week in Melbourne for the National Christian Youth Convention 2009 “Converge”. Lost my voice too but even so, Desmond, the community group band & I still managed to lead the songs of praise during Reconciliation’s community worship time this morning.
We “Converged” at Genazzano College last Saturday for to register, get our packs, move off to our various accomodation locations before coming back to Methodist Ladies College for our first corporate worship.
We “Merged” on Sunday getting to know each other and our Community Groups better. An added dimension to this was the merging of Jay Robinson’s life with that of ordained ministry in the Uniting Church of Australia.
We were “Urged” on Monday in the programs, in our Submersion Warm-Ups and in the challenge to personal relationship with Christ with the United Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Congress (UATSI Congress) leading our worship time.
We then “Submerged” on Tuesday in our Submersions before “Emerging” from them on Wednesday with a new take on the world only to realize that we were on the “Verge” of heading back out into the world on Thursday. On the verge, about 1500 delegates partook of the body (the damper) and the blood (the billy tea) of Christ in Holy Communion as we were led in the Great Thanksgiving by two ordained ministers from the UATSI Congress.
And after a mad week of fun, laughter, tears, prayers and serious (and not-so-serious) thoughts, we all “Diverged” earlier on today from each other at the base of the mountaintop that we had been upon over the last week with a commission to live our lives of radical hospitality and holy mischief knowing that we are never alone and that our God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit – will lift us up if we fall on our life’s journey.
Am I glad that Elza & Elysia badgered me for a month on MSN to come to NCYC in 2008? You betcha. I wouldn’t have been able to meet new friends and acquaintances if they hadn’t: like Sep, Josh, Myke, Lace, Roda, Hannah, Kate, Stephen, Ben, Ryan, Sue, Dan, Eunike, Sarah, Alex, Sarah & Wendy Y, Desmond, Ben, Sione, Roto, Lisa, Claire, Gareth, Andrew, Ethan, Marda, James, Alz, R(ach)el, Pip, Teags, all the Pac Islanders (from the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu) and New Zealand.
I wouldn’t have been able to talk through a number of issues that were on my mind with a number of chaplains (like Graeme, Scott, Graham, Charles and Rosalie).
I wouldn’t have been challenged by the thoughts and sharing of people like Shane Claiborne, Robyn Whittaker and Ofa (I don’t remember her last name but it’s Tongan) throughout the week.
I wouldn’t have heard some of the best independent musicians that I otherwise would not have even heard of like Jess & T.E.D. Band, Scat (well I’ve heard of them before), 2-11, Simeon, Jason Mann and Heather Price.
I wouldn’t have had the best time that I could have ever imagined of without the badgering of Elza and Elysia and somewhere in the back of it, God as well.
I met some gay and lesbian folks here as well and that was a huge reminder for me that although I may strongly differ from their views on the compatibility of homosexual behaviour and Christianity, there is a fundamental sharing that we share in common. I learned to view them again as real people, created in the image of God and who are just as flawed as I am.
I wouldn’t have heard and experienced life with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters and spoken with people like James & Celia who were in my community group and work in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities up in Cape York. I wouldn’t have had a fun time mucking about with indigenous kids like Wayne and Kyle who have some of the most radiant smiles you can ever imagine (and who can seriously beatbox anyone down).
And lastly, I wouldn’t have opened up my mind and heart to how God is working in other denominations here in Australia.
Pics and videos to come when I get back to Brisbane. I’m utterly grateful for the week just past. Now all I want is some damn sleep and something to get my vocal chords back in order. The last time I checked, I was in charge of songs for p&w in a couple of weeks time. Whoops.
+ bf 1820hrs