Now that it’s been a full week since spec, everyday life schedules have resumed for the most part. Though summer still allows for more flexibility that the school year which is quickly approaching (sorry peoples), we find ourselves back to work, chores, church, and social life. The monotony resumes, and as we turn the page for the next set of challenges and adventures that await us, the glow of Spec, fades just a little bit.
Throughout the week of spec, we referenced this scripture quite a bit:
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”
I know that may be a lot to ponder in just a few short verses, but for the purposes this of this week’s devotion, we’ll only explore a couple of avenues, though there are countless perspectives for most any scripture.
During Spec this year, we talked about letting go of image, judgments and limits. Too often in our lives, these three words, have great power and influence in how we go about our days, our methodologies. But perhaps most importantly, those three words are tools we use to define who we are. Our judgments of who are, or who we aren’t, who we should be, fill our brains images of a life that we feel we are meant to live or status we should be living, and as a result we set limits on the things in life we can do in life.
Who Am I?
So the opening question for you to ponder is, “Who Am I?” Take a few minutes to really think about it. Write it out if it helps. What makes you who you are? What qualities, traits, skills, gifts and talents are you blessed with? What brings you great joy? What are you afraid of? Three words again with the power to change, but to change for good. Spend as long as you’d like and don’t’ feel rushed. You will find that this is only the tip of the iceberg and I’m sure each of us could spend countless hours outlining what makes us who we are.
Doctrine and Covenants 162:8a tells us
“You are a good and faithful people, but sometimes you fail to see the power that is resident in your own story and fellowship. Look carefully, listen attentively, and sense the Spirit among you”
We embrace the blessings of sacred community and all that it brings, but it is essential to understand who you are as God’s plan for your life is revealed each day that you live. However, when we go through our lives, when we are not in our supportive communities it’s easier to lose sight, to start to compare ourselves to others, to want to confirm.
Take a few minutes to watch the video below. Jason Gray – Remind Me Who I Am
Each of you are fearfully and beautifully made (Psalm 139:14) so do not be afraid to embrace the power of your story, your journey, and your unique path.
How can you see and express the gifts that God has blessed you with? What do you think his plan for your life is? How would you find out?
Take a moment and just breathe. Whether you’re doing this devotion in a group or by yourself, just breathe. In life we get so caught up our scheduling, running from one activity to the next that we forget to simply be. We forget that in the midst of searching for where God might be in all the chaos, he is always there, by are side. “Be Still, and Know That I Am God” (Psalm 46:10). Repeat this phrase from the scripture 3 times in your head as you breathe in slowly and exhale slowly. Slow life down for a moment and refocus. Remember, God is not in all of the glamour and loud noises, but he is there in the still small voice.
Northwest, Des Moines Congregation
Lamoni Heartland Mission Center
My final Spectacular, as a camper, was during the summer of 2009. I had just graduated high school, and was very ready to begin my freshman year at Graceland. This was an especially exciting summer, as it was an IYF and international SPEC year. There were hundreds more campers present, from all around the world. I took the most I could from this experience, as I knew it would be my last. I tried out for the talent show, I remained heavily involved in the worship class, and most importantly, I was very intentional about meeting new people and remembering their names. Now, at age twenty three, having taken my last class at Graceland over two years ago, I can still say I don’t have enough fingers to count how many good friends with whom I am still in contact from SPEC. (Including Mr. St. Thomas here) I have been a groomsman at five SPEC friends’ weddings, and still get to see them every year as fellow spec staff members. I was very fortunate to go to college with many of them. However, I know that very few people are privileged with that kind of experience. And there were many times in which I felt very disconnected from the spec community just a short walk from me, and even from God. My roommate and friend of over fifteen years shared some of these struggles. We talked about it at great length and came to realize that it doesn’t matter how far your friends are, if you speak with them every day, or if you never encounter anyone from spec in your life beyond. The spirit felt at spec is much more than the activities and people. It is the spirit of community. It is that feeling of radical acceptance, when you’re a scared freshman, but by the end of the first day, you’ve already met at least twenty new people who wanted to meet you just because you were there. It’s the same spirit that moved through Christ and his disciples. The spirit of limitless and sometimes defiant relationality. What spec offered me, was an opportunity to see the Gospels lived out to a certain potential. There was a vibrant spectrum of diversity, and rather than struggling to label or compartmentalize each other, we flourished in our unity. This is a spirit that may not be so apparent in other places, but because you have felt it, and let it transform part of your world, you can take it and make it known wherever you are. Take the time to intentionally consider how you can be like Christ to others as Christ was to you through your neighbors at spec. Every single genuine, “hello!” brings the Kingdom a little closer.
Blessings of Community
Our Galatians scripture tells us how we are one in Christ. This is not meant to strip away all the individual talents, abilities, and uniqueness that makes you who you are, but rather to emphasize how all of those things are brought together to make a beautiful community. The divisive barriers that keep people apart are no longer there because of the overarching all-encompassing love that Christ provides for us.
What do you feel you bring to your community? (Whether it’s your school, congregation, sports team or circle of friends) How does your story fit the puzzle? Is it ever difficult finding ‘where you belong’? How can you encourage others to come to the table?
As some of you may know, the first Sunday of every month in Community of Christ is communion Sunday. While there could be several devotions dedicated to what communion is, to give a quick statement, it is an opportunity to renew your covenant with God? For myself, it is a “why am I a Christian again?” moment. In our church communion is open and of free choice. So whether you decide to part take in or not, you are still loved and accepted.
As you go throughout this week remember, be present in every moment. Each day you live, each time you fail and succeed, you add another page to your story. Remember who you are in Christ, and how together we create God’s peaceable kingdom. Be and share love, and make connections across the nation
Image of the week
What’s in an Image?
Some of you may find this funny, others may find it a tad bit cheesy, But the Skit Guys, show an interesting perspective on imagine and being who God made us to be.
God, where will your Spirit lead today?
Help me be fully awake and ready to respond.
Grant me courage to risk something new and become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.
Until our next post,
Grace and Peace,