It’s crunch time! Actually, it’s been crunch time for a while now. For those of you that might not be aware, I’ll be serving as one of the keynote speakers at this year’s Canadian Lutheran and Anglican Youth gathering (CLAY) in Waterloo, which starts this Thursday. We’ve been preparing for this for a while but we’ve been at it a LOT in the past 3 or 4 weeks.
So to say that it’s been stressful is an understatement. And it’s weird for me too, as I’m usually one to be all that stressed. But in the hectic hecticness of this busy busyness, it’s a bit hard not to feel it, you know?
The theme for this year’s CLAY is “Ashes and Embers” and Pastor Aneeta (from Spirit of Life Lutheran, Vancouver, who is the other keynote speaker with me) and I will be talking about how we see God in unlikely places of life. A fire has many stages but the four that we’re looking at are spark, flame, embers, and ashes. And in each one, God can be seen.
And so I have to remind myself that while I feel super up to my limits, I can see God with me. When I’m not feeling super up to my limits, I can see God with me. That even when I’m feeling burned out or super energetic and everything in between… God is with me.
With all of us, actually. Even when it’s hard to believe it.
Funny enough, this passage out of 1 Kings is one of the ones we used for our “pre-gathering bible studies” that were given to the churches that were sending teams out to CLAY (our church isn’t one of them). The purpose of these studies were to prepare the participants of what is to come.
And what we were hoping for was to remind everyone how God is seen in sometimes the sparks and flames of life (like in the storm of the Matthew text), but also in the calmer ashes and embers. We wanted to explore how we can look for God not just in the excitement and the hustle and bustle of life, but in the calm and quiet and restful.
Our God isn’t a God that is only about the fanfare and hoopla, but a God that is about all areas of life, where we may or may not expect. So we can see God in all that we do and all that we are, holding us up and empowering with grace and mercy, and reminding us that we are not alone but are dearly loved and blessed.
Thanks be to God! Have a great week everyone, and I’ll see you in a few weeks!
Photo is official logo of CLAY 2023