Just like you cannot judge a book by its cover, I don’t think you can judge how a week is going to go by how the first night went. Overwhelmed I think fits here. What happens here, what all is thrown at the kids, and many of them this is the first time they have ever been in this kind of event, they tend to get a little overwhelmed. Lights everywhere, loud music, funny MC’s and professional videos, this can be a lot to take in all at once.
But even through that, even through the production of it all, the invitation is still clear. You are invited to be a part of God’s kingdom…right now.
So many times we look around and compare ourselves to others. We look at those more athletic or pretty or skinnier or smarter or richer or whatever, and we wish, even if we don’t admit it, we want to be invited with them. We want to be a part of something.
Jesus says in Matthew 5:1-12 that He blesses those who are….wait…poor in spirit? Blessed are those who are meek? Or peaceful? Or mournful? That doesn’t sound right, does it? That doesn’t fit with our culture, the way we are taught about success, we are supposed to strive after strength, after riches, doing whatever it takes.
But this new guy on the scene, this Jesus, He doesn’t say things the way that the other rabbi’s say things. He doesn’t leave things alone. The game has now changed, and everyone….every single person, is invited to be a part of the Kingdom.
It seems backwards. Jesus is presenting an upside-down view of what we all know. This is not natural. This is not ordinary. And no matter who you are, no matter what you have done or how bad you think you are, you are invited. You are loved so much more than you can get your limited mind around.
So don’t miss this invitation.
This first night, honestly was hard. Everyone was excited and yet nervous, overwhelmed yet anxious. This new environment was hard to take in all at once. From being a part of a very small church camp up in the Black Hills, going to a college campus with 500 other Middle Schoolers, that is a big change.
And that night we fought.
Well…battled really. Kids need to play. This may be the only fun part of their summer. So taking us back to the medieval times, we battled each other. Teams were formed, eggs were appointed as maidens, forts were created, and water soaker balls flew…over 300 of them. Launched from catapults and thrown by arm, they flew, and it was a great battle. And when it was all done, when the last water soaker ball had landed, only 4 eggs remained. Near fifty maidens fell to their undercooked death.
Day 1 was over. If it was a sign of what was to come, we were in for an exciting week.
I was not mentally prepared for what was to come….
…and neither was I physically…