Well, Teen Service Week 2010 came and went (quite successfully, if I do say so myself), and I’ve spent the last few days reflecting on how exactly it impacted me this time around.
First off, it was unlike any other Teen Service Week I had been on previously, because it was my first as an adult leader, which, at times, was a somewhat harrowing responsibility. However, I can say that I was blessed with the group of outgoing, engaging and driven teens that I worked with at the Howard Area Community Center, taking care of young children at their family center in the morning, and gardening at local Triangle Park in the afternoons. Many smiles and cute stories were shared about our experiences with the children, and a lot of sweat and hard work put into the garden on a daily basis.
Our theme this year was “What a Wonderful World”, inspired by the beautiful (and popular) Louis Armstrong song. Our focus was on the environment, and how we impact it, and how that influences our spiritual lives. It was interesting to see the many ways that the theme was interpreted by the other adult leaders on the week, as we prayed together as a community in the morning and evenings. The prayer that I worked on with another newbie adult leader (with whom I have shared four Teen Service Weeks) talked about how ignorant we can really be in our treatment of the environment. A Biblical quote that we used, that I personally love, really encapsulated this: “For it is the will of God that by doing good you may silence the ignorance of foolish people.” (1 Pt 2:15) Our “spin” on this, as it were, was that we are charged by God to do good (in this case, to not be ignorant of our treatment of the environment) so we can keep others from being ignorant, purposefully or otherwise.
As always, being on the week provoked a lot of questions from within me about how I am living my life spiritually. I was at church yesterday, and the presiding priest said in his homily that one should pray everyday, making the analogy that a person not praying and reflecting is the same as not charging your cell phone; that failing to do so leads to a kind of “death”. It spoke to me quite deeply, mainly because I don’t pray or reflect (or both) on a very regular basis at all. Having morning and evening prayer on Teen Service Week kind of forced me into that habit, and made me realize how important and vital it is to pray, to step away and reflect. And yet, I feel like I come away feeling that way from every Teen Service Week; it seems, as it is said, that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
So, it seems, I need to stop and reflect more often about what my faith means to me, and how I can carry it out in my daily life, so I’m able to “do good” to silence ignorance but, more importantly, so I can be aware of my own ignorance, too.