Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wake up and survive

This weekend I went to a to a youth function at my friend's church. It was a spin off of Survivor.

After getting lost and and arriving late, my friend and I were immediately thrown straight into the chaos of our first challenge. This challenge revealed to us that the teams would be girls against guys. That first bit is just a blur of motion for me but I remember what happened next.

After winning our first challenge due to the fact that the guys failed to follow the directions in the first clue, (This was the only challenge we actually won...)we were told, "This isn't a middle school dance." and encouraged to mingle and get to know one another at the campfire.

It was nice. I remember seeing teens laughing and joking as they roasted marshmallows and hot dogs over the toasty fire. I was there, laughing and joking with the rest of them. As with most campfires that are on a campground, there were pew-like rows of benches and a cross just behind the fire. That cross seemed so much more real than all the others I've seen. The whole time I stood there I felt watched over by a God who has already called the young people of today to great and mighty works through Him.

After a about an hour, we settled down to sing hymns to the music of a single guitar. It was so sweet just being there before God and hearing the voices of those who love Him lifted up in song. I looked up at the stars, burning through space with enough heat to wreak havoc had they not been so perfectly placed. Here where I saw them, they were friendly flickers in the night who blinked back at me with rapid glimmers.

Since we got to sleep in a heated gym, my friend and I joked that this "survivor" was more like "Wake up and survive" because we didn't have to rough it outside.

The next day was full of many challenges. Not all of them were part of the game. By the time we reached our last challenge, I was tired and I wanted to go home. Something about that last challenge changed my perception of the whole day. The challenge was just downright FUN. I wont explain it all, but it involved carrying eggs through a slip and slide, mud pit, and zip line. It ended with having to open and walk through a door set up in the middle of a field.

Once the challenge was over, we all gathered as close as we dared to the giant bonfire. One of the many youth pastors present stepped up to preach a final message before went home. Basically, He spoke about how Jesus is the key to all the good things of God; That He is the way through the "door" of God's kingdom. Along with a not-so-subtle message about being the body of Christ and working together.

The ash from the bonfire drifted down on me like warm snowflakes. The sun glowed orange just above the bronze and yellow treetops. Sitting in a pasture, looking at the sky as it turned a dusky shade of blue, I loved The creation that surrounded me. It was cold, yes, but God was so there. I love realizing again and again how awesome my Creator is.

After I got home, I threw my stuff wherever it fit in my room. I noticed my bible landed exactly in the middle of my bed, so I picked it up and read:

Revelation 4:1 MSG

Then I looked, and, oh!—a door open into Heaven. The trumpet-voice, the first voice in my vision, called out, "Ascend and enter. I'll show you what happens next."

God is so magnificent.

Look for a summary of the first week of The Great Experiment in my next post.