A Formational Experience: SPEC and IYF
Jennifer Killpack of Raymore, MO, USA
Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. -Psalm 85:8
This week hundreds of Community of Christ teens and their friends will gather for the annual amazingness that is SPECTACULAR, with the added bonus this year of an International Youth Forum. Growing up on the East Coast with relatively few church kids in my area and no one else at my school, SPECTACULAR opened my eyes to the wider church when I attended as a camper. I remember not feeling so small and alone in the face of all these people who shared my faith journey. I met people from all over the country and Canada that are still friends today. Looking back, I can see how formational that experience was for me, and that is one of the reasons I am still involved in this amazing ministry today.
SPEC is a community formed by people who are committed to providing a safe and fun place for youth to be their best and most authentic selves. The kids and staff come together to create this sacred space, and for me it is one of the most tangible expressions of our church’s idea of Zion, the peaceable kingdom, that I’ve ever experienced. It’s a week filled with learning, growing, laughing, playing, competing, creating, crying, exploring, and caring. It’s a week that lets us live and breathe and be changed for the good. Sometimes it even gives us ideas and the courage to make change when we return to our home communities. I’d invite you to follow the SPEC experience on social media this week and hold these youth and staff in your prayers!
“Your mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23, adapted).
Ordinary Time is a season for noticing the details of life that make up its substance. This month, we invite you to pay attention with each fresh morning to the gift of being alive. Before getting out of bed, take a few deep breaths and notice what it feels like to wake up in your own body. Engage the tasks of your unfolding day with reverence-brushing your teeth, making the bed, pouring the coffee, tending the kids, feeding the animals, making breakfast, etc. Notice the presence of the Holy in every ordinary thing. Embrace your daily routines with sacramental significance. Notice how long you can do this before your attention is taken away, and commit to returning to this simple awareness as gently and often as you can.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.