8/26/18 Update from Matt McCoy:
The youth, the poor, and the disabled are the guides for us as we seek to cultivate new worshipping communities here in Bellingham. We had a worship service at our house on Thursday, 23 August, from 6pm-8pm, and there was so much about it that I loved.
I love how it was put together by about ten students. They wanted tables outside, set around the altar, where we could all worship together. While we were worried that all the smoke from the recent wildfires in B.C. might force us inside, the wind shifted and we were able to set up just as they requested.
I also went to the Lighthouse Mission and picked up five friends of mine who are Guests there, and they joined us for the service. We had the tables all set up ahead of time, but do you know what we forgot to put on the tables? We remembered the colors and paper for the kids, and we had water, and we had flowers, but we still forgot: Ash trays! Many of the Guests at the Mission still smoke, and we want them to feel at peace, so we improvised. Denise has the idea of going to a pottery place and making something nice for this before next month.
The scripture we were focusing on was John 10:27-30.
John 10:27 My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. 29 The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. 30 I and the Father are one heart and mind.”
We had our Call to Worship, then we read the scripture, and then we prepared for Communion. Naturally, with a youth led service, the first thing they wanted to do was eat. And we talked about how the first Communion was an actual meal, so we ate a meal together.
I want to pause here, briefly, and share a story of what happened back in May. As I was preparing for a communion service in May, I was praying as I put out the elements, and I was reflecting on how frequently the Bible tells stories about eating with people. Who we eat with, and where our hearts are as we eat with them, reflects so much about what we believe. And I was convicted that I spend a lot of time with people experiencing homelessness, but I don’t eat with them often. I could go to the Mission and eat with them, but I was wanting to do much more than that. This evening was an answer to that prayer.
Well, the youth love to have the scriptures made real and tangible (honesty, now, who doesn’t?), and so we had a skit where Jackson represented Jesus, Kevin was a good sport about representing evil, and Honey the goat represented us. Both Jackson and Kevin called to Honey, and we got to see what happened.
One of the many fantastic teenagers with us then preached on the text,
And we spent time at our tables talking about “how do we hear God’s voice?” We had colors for people who would rather reflect on this question without using words…
We concluded with singing,
And the Youth wanted a gong for ringing in the Call to Worship and the Blessing and Sending. We didn’t have a gong, but we had a convincing pot lid.
These pictures speak beautifully to the joy of worshipping with the youth, the poor and the disabled, and I can’t hardly wait for next month’s service...