Glimpses of National Youth Conference
“Even though I am not with you, I keep thinking about you. I am glad to know that you are living as you should and your faith in Christ is strong” (Colossians 2:5, CEV).
How to follow NYC: Photo albums of each day are at www.brethren.org/photos/national-youth-conference-2022. The NYC Facebook page, with brief videos from worship and other events, is at www.facebook.com/churchofthebrethrennyc. NYC on Instagram is at www.instagram.com/cobnyc2022. The NYC news index page is at www.brethren.org/news/coverage/national-youth-conference-2022
Wednesday morning worship, July 27, 2022
“Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:37b-40, NRSVue).
“This is an invitation to see…and do what we can to restore dignity and hope…. That’s the distinction between the sheep and the goats…. One saw and the other didn’t…. We’re asked to love all people…and in doing so, we love Jesus.”
— Osheta Moore bringing the morning message on Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats, and the question it invites us to ask: When was it that we saw Jesus hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison? Moore is a peacemaker, pastor, speaker, and author. She serves two congregations in St. Paul, Minn., as an adjunct at Woodland Hills Church and pastor of community life at Roots Covenant Church, alongside her husband. Her most recent book is Dear White Peacemakers, a “love letter” to white Christians on their anti-rcacism peacemaking journey.
“I want you to carry this cloth with you today…. If you see strings hanging off, think about where your own life feels like it may be unraveling. If you begin to see creases and folds in the fabric, think about where you might be bending over backwards to please others while neglecting your own well-being. If the fabric rips or tears, consider your own insecurities that can tear you apart from the inside, the areas in life you wish you were better or stronger, looked different, felt happier, think about your lost or broken relationships with other people. Make this scrap a symbol for all the scraps of yourself. Every crease, every tear, every wrinkle–another broken part of your life. And remember that Jesus is among the scraps, healer of all brokenness…. So bring all your scraps, these physical ones and the ones you carry inside you, back with you to this evening’s service, and we will seek healing together..”
— Audri Svay, NYC theopoet in residence, preparing the congregation for the evening’s anointing service by talking about the small squares of cloth that each participant received as they entered worship this morning.
Wednesday evening worship, July 27, 2022
“Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? So where are the other nine? Did none of them return to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well’” (Luke 17:17-19).
Tell about it.”
— Seth Hendricks identifying the three things to learn from the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers, as he was on his “road trip” to Jerusalem. Pulling on the poetry of Mary Oliver, Hendricks likened the lepers’ experience to that of the NYCers, on a road trip to Colorado and soon returning home. He called the congregation to pay attention to the divine, allow themselves to be astonished by the divine, and then to go and tell others. Hendricks is pastor of youth ministry and congregational life at Manchester (Ind.) Church of the Brethren, and is a singer and songwriter who has composed three NYC theme songs.
“Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up, and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective” (James 5:13-16, NRSVue).
“Anointing is about trusting God and the path God has set before us. Calling for God’s healing, wisdom, and guidance for the next steps in our journey.”
— Audri Svay reflecting on the meaning of the anointing service, which is a long-standing tradition on the last evening of National Youth Conference. Anointing is offered in the Church of the Brethren as a way to make ourselves open to God’s gift of healing for body, mind, spirit, and relationships. The scripture text from James often is read as an invitation to anointing.