It’s been a whirlwind weekend for Jennifer and I. Starting with the public school assembly at Indian River last Thursday, we’ve been on the road non-stop, speaking and leading worship everyday.
Friday afternoon we set up again at Thousand Island’s auditorium, this time presenting for the Middle School. After hearing of the enthusiasm and success of our presentation for the High School, Principal Debra Percy requested me to share for her students.
I was the guest speaker for a very special assembly, one hallmarking the lives of Olympic athletes who overcame obstacles to achieve their dreams (no, I’m not an Olympian!). The students studied competitors from many different nations, culminating in a flag ceremony. This assembly also centered around their new reading program, one in which medals are awarded to students for how many books they read during the year (25, 35 and more!). I shared my own middle school woes of being marked as a "slow reader," a title that clung to me through the end of high school and kept me from ever reading my assigned books. After high school I was prompted by my friend, Jordan Sandquist, to read a Stephen Lawhead trilogy (The Song of Albion ), an act that would not only awaken the love of reading, but fuel my desire to write.
Many thanks Mrs. Percy to all the marvelous middle school students at TI!
As soon as the assembly was over, Jennifer and I rushed off to Niagara Falls, NY for our fourth annual appearance at the Regeneration Girls Retreat, hosted this year by St. James United Methodist Church. And I say "our appearance" lightly, as this one is really all Jennifer’s show; I’m just along for moral and musical support. You can check in with her site shortly as she’s drafting a re-cap of the weekend for all those who attended. Needless to say, it was the most powerful Regeneration yet, full of Jennifer’s worship leading, messages from Sherri McCready , and culminating in an awe-inspiring recreation of the Tabernacle.
Sunday morning I had the privilege of preaching at St. James for both the contemporary early service as well as the later traditional service. Jennifer lead more beautiful worship for both services. Our hosts, Rev. John Cooke and his saintly wife, Char, prepared a huge lasagna lunch and then sent us on our way in food comas (quite dangerous, actually).
On Saturday morning before the morning session I was having my coffee, sitting on the Cooke’s couch looking out their living room window. Their church sits directly in front of their house, and also in the shadow of Niagara Falls High School, the largest school in all of western NY. I began to stare at it, a looming monolith over four stories high, looking more like a modern factory or office building than a school. I’ve had the opportunity of sharing at the school’s Bible Club in years past and have performed many times on its stage. But sitting there I was impressed by how the brick church and the school seemed to overlap–how they almost seemed to be beckoning to one another; the school asking the church for help, the church offering its connection to the divine.
The State, even the private sector, has done us a great favor by gathering all the youth of our nation together 5 days out of every week in central locations across the country. For the Church to miss this imperative opportunity would be a travesty of the grandest kind, detrimental to the fate of our country as well as the individual souls of our children.
I thought the picture above said it better than I could.
We’re now picking up our little babies outside of Rochester and preparing to head back to beautiful northern New York. Spring is here and the work of the Lord is before us all, calling us to action.
"But the people who know their God will display strength and take action."
Thanks for reading!