Wednesday Night Live – extended (12/26)

Reflection EveningWe tried something different tonight at Wednesday Night Live. We held the first of our Reflection evenings that will happen every 6 weeks or so in our normal Wednesday Night Discipleship programs. Think of it as a WNL: Unplugged. There was no PowerPoint, no videos, no CD’s or mp3’s, not even electric lights. Our only light source was a large 3-wick candle (for symbolism) and several tea lights (for additional light to read with). It was a smaller night, due in part to the fact that it is the day after Christmas and there were no other ministries taking place at the church tonight. In fact we had the same number of adult leaders as we had students, a first on a Wednesday night. Here is how the evening looked.

We opened with a little explanation of how the evening would work, and why we were doing this. This idea grew out of a lesson several weeks ago on silence, and our need to make time to listen for God’s voice away from the noise that we let run our lives. I then turned out the lights and lit our candles, asking our students to focus on the symbolism that they show, tying it into the imagery of Jesus as the Light of the World. We opened with brief prayer and the hymn All Creatures (David Crowder’s reworking). From there we moved into some Lectio Divina. For those unfamiliar with this practice, Lectio Divina is Latin for “holy reading” and is described as experiencing God through Scripture. It consists of reading a Biblical text (verse, passage, whatever) repeatedly, the first time simply reading through, and the successive times meditating upon it, listening for words, phrases, ideas that God is communicating through the text that would be missed in a simple read-through. Tonight we meditated upon Zacchaeus’ story (found in Luke 19) using The Message translation. We closed this portion singing Chris Tomlin’s reworking of Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone).

From there we moved into a time of sharing some of our journey so far with the group, and while I was looking for my music to David Crowder’s Cry Mercy (for there was a lot of pain being shared), the Spirit led me instead to a song I had written over 4 years ago to help comfort Kelly when her stepfather had passed away. I shared it with the group (first time in nearly 4 years that I had played it!) and we moved into a time where they shared what God had showed them through the Lectio Divina. This was probably the most important portion, allowing the students (and leaders) to be open and honest and share their observations about the Scripture. And most of them did. And there was a lot of gold to be found there. We closed the evening singing Blessed Be Your Name, and sharing a Franciscan Benediction. I sent all of our teens and the leaders home with their own candle to use in carving out time for God (intentional wording there. Making time for God does not have a lot of weight to it, where carving is a repeated practice using hard work, sweat, tools, and a lot of effort to produce an end result worth seeing) and their sheets that they wrote/drew their observations on the Zacchaeus, challenging them to not let tonight be a one-and-done event. Carve that time out. Meditate on this (and more) Scripture. Ask hard questions. And don’t forget to Reflect on God in your Journey.