|ELCA Youth Gathering|
By Rev. Marie C. Jerge, Bishop
Walking Wet is an image that describes our lives as baptized children of God. It took on new meaning here in New Orleans when the rains hit and the hordes of youth in colored t-shirts wandered the city streets soaked to the skin. But they did not let it dampen their enthusiasm for learning what it means to be Citizens with the Saints, and practicing discipleship, peacemaking and justice.
I have shared some images and stories throughout this week. They are posted on our website... but here are just a couple God moments:
Upstate New York Synod groups were housed in a hotel on Bourbon Street. That was a concern, but our youth and adults handled it well and turned it into opportunities for conversation. The surprise came when a homeless man stopped one group and prayed with them and for them!
While working out in the community, one of our young women had some trouble with the heat and needed a trip to the hospital. After treatment, the doctor offered her (and those with her) a ride back to the hotel.
Each community service group was shepherded by a young adult called a servant leader. One servant leader told us that he volunteered for the gathering because his friend was coming. After working with the Lutherans for a few days, he said that when he returns home, he's going to find an ELCA congregation and get confirmed, because we're a church that combines preaching the Word with action.
The program was fabulous, the music astounding, the leaders did an amazing job - but the image that remains in my mind is those groups of colored shirts packing the dome and taking to the streets - rain or shine - learning and living their faith in community and service.They are an inspiration! Amazing grace indeed!