Sunday, July 4, 2010

Freedom, Utopia, and Heaven: Samezies?

pic of 'jam session' on stage at Workcamp- I'm in the back playing the keys!

Happy Fourth of July! I am currently writing this post from a Megabus to NYC...this summer has been CRAZY!! I have NO idea where June went. If you find it, you let me know 'cause it sure as heck escaped me.

Last week, I spent the entire week way out in VA at a little thing Catholic youth ministers like to call 'Workcamp'. Yes, I am well aware that the term is one that evokes thoughts of the camps of WWII...I honestly have NO idea way we call it that. Other than that it is like a camp and the kids come to work. Here is a little better explanation here

Basically, kids from churches all over descend for a week upon a high school, sleep on floors, eat cafeteria food, do community service by day and pray by night. There is pretty much NO reason that this should be fun in any way. But it is! The only explanation as to why it might be is perhaps that it is a little utopia/commune for a week where everyone is serving and giving of themselves, and of course, the Grace Jesus pours down on the place.

I go to help run the programs that the kids experience in the evenings, provide assistance back at "homebase" (aka the school where we stay for the week), and play music for Mass. Each year, the diocese brings in a Catholic music artist to emcee the event and lead the kids in worship. I really enjoy meeting and working with these musicians- it's always a good experience to chat and collaborate with professionals "in the biz".

The camp's theme this year was "Hope in Him" (and we are actually doing another camp at the end of this month, so it will still be the theme) You all know this has been a personal theme for me, so I was glad to pray and reflect on this with, oh, you know- 400 some people ;)

So that has been my week. And jammed in before and after that was a quick trip to Philly to sadly attend a memorial service for a college friend's mom who passed away from cancer, and now a quick trip to NYC/NJ to visit my LA friends who are in town. I wish I could say the summer is going to slow down from here, but I have a couple of work trips this next month, plus another Workcamp, plus a girls weekend planned somewhere in between!

Sorry this post is kind of just an update/catch all on my can be sure that there has been lots of Mass, prayer, and reflecting in midst of the travels. I'm pretty happy with where Jesus and I are at right now. There is always room for improvement, but I've got my daily Mass and prayer time in, regular confession (clearly, it's only a matter of time before Jesus comes and shakes things up with the way I'm kind of "coasting" right now....He's challenging like that...)

I will say I was struck today by how the readings at Mass were so JOYFUL. All about rejoicing. But as St. Paul describes...rejoicing in the cross. I really don't think Paul understands how rejoicing works, but I still love him :)

The Gospel is Christ's instructions to His disciples as they go out and preach. He gives them SPECIFIC instructions on what to do and say when and where they are or aren't welcomed...when to "shake their feet", and all that. What I say to that is...where are my detailed instructions, huh? ;)

I will leave you today with this last part of today's Gospel which gives some food for thought better than I could right now in my uber-tired state:

The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said,"Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name." Jesus said, "I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power to 'tread upon serpents' and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,but rejoice because your names are written in heaven."

As usual, Christ gives us good perspective. The disciples are all excited that they have been given the power to cast out demons, but of course they miss the point. All of our gifts are for the goal of heaven. The opportunity for heaven is what we should rejoice in.

And this idea of the utopia of Workcamp (where everyone is self-giving and working together) as well as the reason we celebrate the 4th today (our freedom) all can tie into this reminder of heaven- where we will be free and one.


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