You enter the week of National Gathering full of expectations, assumptions, desire, and hope. When you open up the door to the Interaction center (the center for activity, activity, and shopping) at the gathering the world unfolds. You start to see a place where you can focus in on the week, the people you are with, and the area you are serving.
Sometimes in life you are given a gift that while you want to replicate it in tangible gifts, you cannot. You only can find it in a few places. There are few places where everyone comes together for a positive and single purpose. The ELCA National Youth Convention is one such place. In 2012, 38,000 youth and adults will serve in community projects, learning to be peacemakers and problem solvers in the world. Not the singular world they live in, but also the unspoken world. Those places hidden from the glitz and glass of the city. It is a place where “nice people” don’t go. It is a place where many suburban churches send money, but not always people because it is not viewed as “safe”. It is seen as a place that needs help, but not a place that we want to go and help.
I have been able to walk side by side with the youth of Upper Dublin. See them laugh and cry. Hear what they enjoy, what scares them. I get to see them enjoy each other, learning about different people, but that they are all the same people in Christ. Many times they share pieces of doubt in their faith and they are reinforced that doubt is okay. We learn as Lutheran’s that struggles with doubting in your faith are sometimes as much a part of what we learn about in our faith walk, as the bible studies.
We enter Thursday preparing to be peacemakers after literally becoming cleansed in the healing rain of Wednesday night. We learned in the opening dome session about how all of use needed in the LUTHERAN CHURCH. Those of other races, ethnic backgrounds, different socio economic places, and lifestyles and we are all part of the church. We love to be different and we hope to be different and unique all week.