Thoughts on the General Assembly by advisory delegates.
Mom warned me I would cry. She told me that the sound of 8000 Presbyterians all joining together in song and prayer would make even me, someone who really hates crying in any situation, be unable to keep it all in. I told her, in typical teenage fashion, that she was wrong and I would manage to hold it together, but as I watching an amazing procession of music, dancers, kites, and puppets process into the hall in the Minneapolis Convention Center where we had gathered for our Sunday morning worship, and as we sang one of my favorite hymns (“Every Time I Feel the Spirit”) I felt the familiar swelling of tears at the corner of my eyes.
And, unlike in normal situations, I didn’t even try to hide my tears from Mom.
When I was first asked by Pittsburgh Presbytery to serve as their Young Adult Advisory Delegate, I admit that I agreed with a mix of excitement and apprehension. What committee would I be in? Would the other YAADs be nice? What would it be like to be around hundreds of other Presbyterians? And, perhaps the most important question of all—would I be able to discern the presence of the Spirit and the will of God in my own heart and amongst all of us?
With these matters still on my heart, off I went to Minneapolis—to our hotel, then registration, then YAAD orientation (where we discovered our mutual connections and made new friends by doing every church-camp “energizer” known to Presbyterianism), and then into the wild joy of the plenary hall, where I reconnected with the members of my presbytery and had the opportunity to meet commissioners from other presbyteries as well, all of whom were welcoming and warm and excited for our great weeklong journey and the work we had set before us. The energy on the floor was palpable, and I knew that the Spirit was moving through and among and around all of us, even as we went into the evening hours. I went off to our late-night YAAD caucus and into morning worship buoyed by what I had experienced on the plenary floor, rejuvenated and renewed.
I worry that I’ve used “I” too much in this post. In his sermon this morning, our former moderator Bruce Reyes-Chow told us that what we are doing here is not about us. It is about what we can do to glorify God and proclaim our witness amongst ourselves and to the world, and to promote justice and love to all people. I hope and pray I can keep this in mind as I enter into the week ahead of me, which will be full of both joy and frustration, but will hopefully ultimately proclaim God’s will and the love of Christ for us. I hope that my blogs will be able to do the same.
And, as we YAADs like to say—God is good! All the time!
by Rachel Rothenberg