This Sunday, we will be trying something new in our HSM Sunday Night gathering, Practicing Sabbath. Sabbath - the Old English, from Latin sabbatum, via Greek from Hebrew šabbāṯ, from šāḇaṯ ‘to rest.’ We often times miss this opportunity with the busyness of our lives. High school youth are busier than ever before, with sports, choirs, clubs, work, recreation and everything else, high school youth or youth in general rarely have time to take a breath and relax.
Practicing Sabbath is an intentional time of rest, a time set aside to relax. Through Contemplative Prayer practices, youth will be ask to reflect on a number of areas in their life. Whether it is through drawing a prayer, writing a reflection, a thank you note, or reading scripture, youth can take a breath and relax. They can reconnect with the Spirit in a new and meaningful way.
So you may be asking why this is important...In his book Growing Souls: Experiments in Contemplative Youth Ministry, the late Mark Yaconelli, through the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project, provides some insights into how spirituality is or is not connecting to youth or youth workers. Here are some general ideas surrounding the research and discoveries.
- Current approaches to youth ministry neglect the spiritual life of youth ministers, adult volunteers an youth.
- People long to experience God within their own lives.
- Communities of transformed adults, living lives of prayer and service, attract and transform the lives of young people.
- Youth desire to recognize God's presence in their lives and to be empowered to live out their calling
If we want to see our youth have a healthy spiritual life and to stay connected to their faith after high school, we need to be willing to create a space for them to explore what and how God is working in their lives. Contemplative Prayer practices or "Practicing Sabbath" is one opportunity for youth to connect in a different and new way.
Next week, we will post some of the practices for you to try as a family. The spiritual life of our youth is not something we need to "get" them to do, it is an opportunity for our youth to engage with where God is already working in their lives, it is an opportunity to connect what they are doing because of God's grace!
I hope you will encourage your youth to attend this HSM Sunday Night offering, even for 15 minutes, to take the opportunity to rest and reflect on where God has been and is active in their lives.