Friday, 10 October 2014

Sailing Excursion and Reflections on Christian Community




  This past week I had the privilege of sailing around the Golf Islands of the West Coast with some of the dearest friends and mentors I could ask for. It was during this time when a reflection in my devotional time led to a heightened awareness of the need for routined prayer and Scripture reading in my daily life. I recall reading about the monotonously disobedient lives of the Israelites and how they were given the blessing of manna. The day prior to each Sabbath they were to collect enough to sustain them for the next day; if they collected more than they were instructed to they would awake the arriving morning with the extra portion having rotted in the night. 

  Per usual to the average adolescent, I’ve lived the majority of my spiritual walk from one mountain top experience to another. More often than not, I come away from Church, youth conferences, camp, etc, with the expectation of surviving on the received spiritual instruction until the next opportunity arises. I attempt to stuff as much “spiritual food” into my backpack as I possibly can only to return home and realize that it’s not sufficient. My ambition this year is to walk daily with Jesus, not relying on the spiritual revelations of others to guide me through life. To receive intimacy with Christ through my own prayer time and scripture readings. 

  During this time I also spent some time reflecting upon the thought of Christian community and what a tremendous privilege it is to be a part of a local Church over the next eight months here on the Island. There is a spiritual ethnicity to the Church of Christ; Christians are blood relatives, joined by the blood of Jesus. It's been a genuine encouragement to see how, at Bethel Pentecostal in Ladysmith, the congregation has welcomed us wide-eyed, clueless college students into their family. They're momentarily going through a pastoral transition and I can only imagine how difficult it is to remain joyful when the shepherd of the flock is called elsewhere. Non the less, each Sunday morning they arrive with hopeful spirits and welcoming arms. 

   Being the introvert that I am, the prospect of sitting alone in a Church service is a bit daunting. However, the three of us students thought it wise to split up and sit amongst some of the congregation we hadn't yet become acquainted with. Unfortunately I sat through the entirety of the service alone ... (I was tempted to lean over to the people five seats away from me and whisper, "I don't bite, you know!") once the message concluded, I turned to exit the sanctuary and before I could even take a step my lonely spirits were lifted by two women who began to converse with me. Hearing about their daily lives and how God is revealing himself to them was a tremendous encouragement. Needless to say, I'm learning a great deal about the human-comfort zone I have and the many exciting things God has called me to that lay just beyond it's boarders.
This evening I'm heading off to "Gravity", the congregations weekly youth night. Ministry with adolescents never ceases to surprise, stretch, and challenge, and encourage me .... 

Until next time,
Gracie Ann