Beginnings and Endings

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Hello again friends,

Last night was a great night, and deserving of some reflection. I love my job, but if there's anything about it I don't like, or at least have difficulty with, it's the end of the year. Last night was our last Veritas meeting of the 2011-2012 year, and our students showed up big time for the party. We played the first (annual?) Veritas Olympics, which contained elements of all the best Veritas games. We had worship out in the courtyard, and I'll admit that it did seem as though the floor was shaking even though it was firmly attached to the earth. 

As we often do, our last Veritas ended with an open microphone. The sharing came mostly from what turns out to be our largest ever senior class to graduate out of the group. If those sharing weren't seniors themselves, they seemed to talk a lot about the seniors. Their impact on this group was immense. Their weekly presence will surely be missed. Last night was, in a sense, an ending. 

But while that's difficult, and there are moments where my "allergies" were getting to me a bit, last night was also one of my favorite nights of the year. Because watching younger students listen to these seniors share how much this ministry impacted them, you could tell that they were being invited to dive into something with all they had. The mantle is ready to be picked up by a new generation. Last night wasn't just an ending. It was, in a lot of ways, a beginning. 

In 2 Kings, before all the awesome stuff about she-bears, Elijah is about to be taken up into heaven, and he's having a conversation with his student Elisha. When asked what Elisha wanted before Elijah went to be with God, his young student asked for a double portion of his grace, a double awareness of God, and a double ability to bring God to the people. As I was watching the younger students last night, I realize that it happens in our midst every year. As a group of seniors leaves us, each a little harder to say goodbye to as we've gotten to know each other, they leave behind a legacy of wanting to serve God more than those who have gone before them. And younger students see that, and younger students want to serve God even more. I got chills thinking about what things will be like in 6 years, when this team of 7th graders leaves us. Imagine all that God will do in our midsts in that time. 

Youth ministry never stops. Exactly 13 hours after Veritas ended, I was in a planning meeting for next year, getting ready to do it all again. There is no rest for the weary. But there are moments, in my ministry and I'm sure in yours, that need a moment or two of pause, reflection, and celebration. Last night was surely one of those. A time of endings, and a time of beginnings.