Monday, July 20, 2009

Lutheran Youth Head to New Orleans

Today, the youth of our church head towards New Orleans for the 2009 Youth Gathering. Long ago, in 1981, I was part of a group that left Knoxville, Tennessee to go to Purdue University for our Youth Gathering. Ah, the olden days, when all the Lutheran youth could meet at a college campus. Those days are long gone. My mom, who has more connections in the church hierarchies than I will ever hope to have, tells me that there are only 3 cities that can handle the numbers of high schoolers that convene every 3 years. Cool.

I found my own youth gathering revelatory, a mountain top experience. As with most mountain top experiences, it made it hard to return to the humdrum life of suburban church at home.

My experience was very similar to college. We stayed in the dorms and each day we went to workshops and classes. We met people from across the U.S. At night, we gathered to worship. I don't remember much about the food, but I imagine that we ate cafeteria food. I remember my legs ached from so much walking.

It was this experience that gave me hope that maybe college would be different from high school, that if I could just hold on, maybe life would improve. And it did.

I loved hearing about all the mission work. I loved the social justice element. I loved the exciting worship.

I'm so happy that so many of our youth still have a chance for these kind of experiences. I'll keep them in my prayers this week.

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