What is important about this theme and this thematic flow for PYT? For those preparing for PYT 2016?
This theme is as much about when they leave the Triennium as it is about the event itself. From the first worship service we will explore what happens AFTER the Triennium.
“Going” is not busy work.
“Going” is not escape.
“Going is not running away.”
GOING has the most impact when the process of going involves thoughtful and communal self reflection.
GOING is enabled by God’s counsel, authority given to Jesus and shared with Jesus’ disciples.
GOING is risky.
GOING is often a process.
But sometimes GOING is quick.
Like the shepherds we refuse to let our fear hold us back or stop us from being present with Jesus.
The biblical stories of “GOING” we will be exploring demonstrate the process of GOING. In each situation there is a NO moment or posture, a TURNING POINT (we are calling it a Turning Place) and a GO moment.
We are human. This means that our GOING is not perfect, or always carefully choreographed and sometimes there is failure, sin or a problem.
GO is a command. Go is a directive.
To go with GOD is to embark on a “worthy adventure.”
Youth Ministry Framework:
“An important part of the dissatisfaction of today’s young people with the mainline churches stems from the absence of a spiritually challenging and world-shaping vision that meets their hunger for the chance to participate in what Stanley Hauerwas has termed “a worthy adventure.” Instead, our efforts have focused on devising strategies for keeping young people in the church because it is a place where they will be safe from the terrors of the streets or the seductions of the shopping mall. Our hopes for them are modest and reasonable. For the most part, they mirror the expectations we have for ourselves. We ask no more than that they grow up to be “good” people—decent, law abiding, successful in their jobs and happy in their marriages. To this end, we program activities which are certainly wholesome, sometimes edifying, and almost always fun. Conscientious youth ministers work hard to find ways to involve youth in worthwhile service projects, and often such projects—which yield concrete results to which we can point with pride—are very successful. Of course, some youth do remain in the church, and most of these do turn out to be “good” people. But many more do not. They leave the church because it asks nothing significant of them. They leave the church because it is spiritually innocuous.”
Rick Osmer – “Challenges to Youth Ministry” (article published in Affirmation journal, 1989).
Tuesday - Day One
Tuesday – Opening Day Go and See See Luke 2:8-20
Context, Background, Theological Content
Shepherd in the field, angel, the “glory of the Lord” shown.
Shepherds are terrified of the angel.
Hesitant to go into Bethlehem. Unsure it’s for them – “come on, we’re shepherds” – we’re outside guys. Not King/Messiah/people.
They experienced rejection before. They were not welcome at the palace or permitted inside the temple. So, how could God want them? How could this be good news for them?
So, even while they were hesitant and uncertain they should be with the baby/Jesus, they were unknowingly part of the story.
What does it mean to stand in the “glory of the Lord all around them?”
What it means to be terrified by God/God’s message?
What it means to hear that you are about to hear “good news” – how do you take in good news when you are terrified? Rejected? Out of your comfort zone?
This is a lot like being a teenager in the world, the church or going to the Triennium on the first day.
“You thought you decided to come here?” God has called you here. And God’s glory is all around you (look around the HOM, down your row, in your sweaty bus).
*Key moment – “there will be a sign for you” – and “the Lord has made known to you”
The shepherds said “Let us go” – even though they were scared and overwhelmed. They went. And they saw. And they RETURNED. The Message says: The sheepherders talked it over and then they went.” Sometimes we need the community to help us GO.
*Key point – it was more significant that the shepherds RETURNED and shared what they had seen, heard and learned. Because what good is it? And that’s US. That’s you Triennium 2016. On this first day we say to you – get ready to LEAVE! You are going to spend this week getting ready to leave. Getting ready to Go.
NO, TURNING POINT, GO moments…
This is out of our comfort zone. We are scared It’s not for us (we’re just shephers/teenagers) We’ve been rejected before – why should we try again?
They listened to God God offered a sign, a sign of reassurance God dazzled them!
Let’s go RIGHT NOW They went together (Let’s) They summoned their courage
Implications: God has called you here and God calls you to leave here. Open your eyes, your ears. Gather all the beauty you can into your heart (because you’ll need it when you return – when you GO).
Wednesday - Day Two
Wednesday (Day Two) *First Full Day “Go and Do Likewise” DO Luke 10:25-37 (Good Samaritan but really the “lawyer and Jesus”)
Jonah – additional scripture
Theological content, Background, Issues
Good Samaritan parable to explore “neighbor”
What’s needed for eternal life – lawyer is looking for the exact steps, or a loophole or a formula for eternal life.
Sometimes the parable takes over the real situation – the reason Jesus tells the parable is to deal with the Lawyer’s inability to hear what Jesus is really trying to say.
The lawyer wants to keep religion at an arms difference. “Tell me the rules, tell me the requirements.” But – by the story – Jesus pulls him (lawyer) in and makes it personal.
Neighbor: This reminds us that our “neighbor” is often the person we most despise, the community we distance ourselves from. The jews of Jesus day considered only their fellow jews to be their neighbors. BUT – Jesus says your neighbor may be the very person you most despise or fear.
For Jesus there is no us and them.
The lawyer says “But who is my neighbor?” He wants a loophole? Or does he really not know? Why would he ask this question? Is he starting to “get it?” That “doing” is hard. Requires sacrifice or mess. He wanted neat answers. But Jesus says “It is messier than you think.”
Sometimes, by hearing another story (parable, movie, art, etc.) we recognize ourselves. The lawyer didn’t get it when Jesus quoted the law (Love your neighbor, Love God, etc.). He only got it when Jesus told him a story about what it means to TRULY care/LOVE a neighbor. (Samaritan).
Important to note that the Samaritan (in Jesus story) gave extraordinary care. He was moved with pity. He care for gross wounds, he poured oil (probably expensive), he gave wine and goof. He took care of him. This is more than a handout or a quick fix. It was intimate. He got involved. With an enemy!
NO, TURNING POINT, GO moments …
The lawyer’s need to be RIGHT To keep doing what he was doing/what we’re doing Finding loophole’s for something bigger than rules (relationship)
When the lawyer responds to Jesus “the one who demonstrated mercy” He acknowledges what Jesus is trying to teach him.
Interesting here because we don’t know the “Go” moment of the lawyer but we know what we can do. Go – and be that good neighbor. To people this week. People you don’t know. People who might be different than you. Believe a different thing than you. Etc.
Refuse the notion that there is an “Us and a Them” – we are all neighbors.
Thursday - Day Three
Thursday – Day 3 (Possible Healing and Wholeness Service/Contemplative in Nature)
“The Way I Should Go”
Lamentations 3:23 cross text “… great is your faithfulness”
This psalm is all about the nature of God. And the nature of humankind.
Interesting to think about the writer (David?) at the time – what time in David’s life was this taking place? And was it a reflection of the mistakes made, and forgiven, over and over?
This psalm starts with failure/with a mistake/with confession
We are going to make mistakes. We are going to fail.
This is hard for good Presbyterian people. We like success. Achievement. We like control. We even sometimes might even prefer for God to take control. BUT – God is pretty clear in this psalm (as in David’s life) that God does not control us – as if we were a horse or a mule with a harness. Driving us too and fro. Instead – God keeps an eye on us. Guiding us. Not puppets or robots that God programs and controls. God TEACHES US. And we have to develop a craving for that teaching.
We have to be real about failure and the follow up – forgiveness
It’s all about a humble, teachable moment for God to transform!
Key point – God says “I will counsel you with my eye upon you”
We’re not just a form of artificial intelligence that God programs.
A relationship and process of trust (not an app or a software or a program)
“No app for that!”
NO, TURNING POINT, GO moments …
I’m not teachable. I messed up. I’m a failure. I ruined God’s perfect plan for my life.
Being open to God. Realizing I need forgiveness and a redo. Again.
This “go” moment starts with a failure and the recognition and the turning to God.
Your failures are not the end of you or of God’s work but they are a teachable moment to learn God’s ways.
Quote Help, Thanks Wow
““We learn through pain that some of the things we thought were castles turn out to be prisons, and we desperately want out, but even though we built them, wca ‘t find the door. Yet maybe if you ask God for help in knowing which direction to face, you’ll have a moment of intuition. Maybe you’ll see at least one next right step you can take.”
Friday - Day Four
Friday – Day Four (Last Full Day) “Let My People Go” ADVOCATE Exodus 3-7
FUN TIP: Exodus means “to go”
Theological content, Background, Issues
This is about justice
This is also about how hard, and long, and frustrating advocating for justice (for other or ourselves) can be.
MLK said “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice”
Justice is not (or very rarely) an overnight success.
Moses was afraid and intimidated
Aaron was afraid and intimidated
The Hebrew people were anxious for freedom but terrified by the process, the reality, the danger. They were even critical of the road to freedom.
God to Moses said “Go and tell Pharoh”
Moses to Pharoh said “Go”
Israelites to Moses “Go tell God”
Lots of people telling each other to Go.
This is about pushing back. Pushing back against history. Pushing back against power. Pushing back against oppression. Speaking up for others – despite your own comfort. Moses could have stayed wealthy, privileged, in the ruling society. Aaron could have stayed out of the middle of things. But they didn’t.
Myth about freedom and advocacy. “It always ends well.” NOT true. Doing the right thing sometimes ends with trouble. But God still asks us to Go. God still asked Moses to “Go” even when Pharoh came down harder on the Hebrew people.
Don’t be discouraged. Go again. Do it again.
Don’t expect praise. In fact – when you are acting in the name of justice – sometimes it’s not really appreciated.
Note: no other event in the history of the Jewish people that defines them as much as the Exodus and the events surrounding.
This is about justice and how long and difficult advocacy can be.
Moses name means “to pull”. The irony is that his name means “to pull” not “one who is pulling”. Sermon by Anna Carter Florence at Montreat West. So, we get involved with the homeless or the hungry and we begin to realize that there are deeper issues and often we are a part of the problem.
For our faith to take legs and “Go” it means doing the hard work of justice and advocacy. This defines who you are as a child of God. Taking a deeper look. Risking discouragement and long years/days. Just “going” without information does not truly free anyone.
NO, TURNING POINT, GO moment…
Moses says “I can’t” Aaron says “I can’t” Hebrew people say “It’s hard to go”
There are several. But then there are also multiple “no” moments between. The Hebrew people had to leave behind in order to GO
Pharoh released upon understanding God’s love for God’s oppressed people. The Hebrew people just WENT (without their bread being baked, without their possessions, in a hurry. And in GOING – it was just the start.
Saturday - Day Five
Saturday – Day Five (Closing Worship) The Great Go-Mission GO! Matthew 28:16-20
To PYT: you’ve heard great sermons, sung songs, studied scripture, had fun.
It’s up to you now.
You’re in Good company. Reminder of the scripture (Jesus to the disciples) “All authority given to Jesus – and he says “You, Go” so, PYT – “Go!”
11 disciples head to the mountain, having experienced dramatic ups and downs over the last few days. Jesus death, resurrection, worshipping with him”. Kind of like us/PYT. But Jesus sends them. And they have to GO.
The command to “Go, make disciples” is given directly by Jesus “the one with the authority!!!!” This is not a suggestion. This is the word of God.
Don’t stay on the mountain. Go out and create learners/disciples.
They worshipped BUT SOME DOUBTED. They were, yet again, human. But they went anyway. So if you experience this week. Heard a good word. Felt a challenge. And still have some doubts. “You are in good company!” (see 11 disciples)
To truly live the great “Go Mission” you have to look at what happened with the eleven disciples. What happens after the end of Matthew 28:20. The church happened. Saul became Paul. The Holy Spirit was given to people.
The disciples are not stagnant figures in an oil painting. They didn’t stay on the mountain. They didn’t stay, happy and comfy with a selfie from the top of the mountain. They went. They made disciples. Teaching! Baptizing (or, helping people come to know God and commit their lives to God).
What are you going to do? How will you define this GO moment for yourself? What story will you tell when you get home? Next year? In 10 years?
We told you on Tuesday that this week was about this very moment and the moments that will begin as you walk out of this hall. GO.
Don’t be satisfied with just a really cool selfie from a great event. The whole reason God brought you here is for you to go from this place and make disciples, make a difference. What are you going to do? And remember – you are not alone. There is a church waiting for you. There are these people, sitting next to you, in your bus. And Jesus himself is with you. And Jesus says GO.
NO, TURNING POINT, GO moment…
You might forget Your life will take over your mission, your energy, your courage It could be hard
Remember that GO is not an invitation. It’s a command. An action.
With others With your church As you take the next steps in your faith and in your life
*Idea for memento: Clay tile “Go” bracelet – possibly given in a commissioning time.
Presbyterian Youth Triennium is a gathering for high school age youth from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church that occurs every three years. The 2016 event is July 19-23, 2016 at Purdue University. The theme for the 2016 event is “GO”.