The ELCA National Youth Gathering
A feeding that lasts from Jesus the Bread of Life
Jesus’ menu for feeding faith is quite the smorgasbord: the sacraments of baptism and communion, the witness of the Bible appreciated in study, Sunday School or Vacation Bible Study, loving service for neighbors in need (when you do it to one of the least of these …).
Then every three years in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American, there is the unique experience of the National Youth Gathering: 30,000+ teenagers traveling from around the country, this year to Houston, Texas. And the magnitude of the gathering at worship and bible study and service to the community and fellowship with one another makes an impression like no other.
I attended my first National Gathering in 1979. Having attended 9 of the next 12 gatherings in a variety of roles as part of the planning team, synod support and local pastor, each has been an experience unto itself. While the pattern of each gathering has been the same – arena worship, music and testimony each night, with service, synod rallies and conference hall interactions around social awareness, devotional practice and games.
The highlight for me every time: confessing the creed at the closing worship in solidarity with all those other young people. I am the church. You are the church. We are the church together.
Jesus the Bread of Life nourishes faith at the Gathering in ways that will last forever.
How is Jesus feeding you this week?