Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Power of Shared Experience

The young people in this picture have shared over 2,000 SJCS recesses together, a week at 5th grade science camp, the spiritual retreat, four years of band, a well-executed play called "The Westing Games", faith doubts about our indescribable God and what it means to be His child... The students in this picture share a rich history.

I believe that we were created to live in community. Our Triune God, Father-Son-Holy Spirit, exists communally. As image-bearers, we, too, thrive when we walk life together on this journey.

Truly the most powerful influences on my walk with God have happened through shared experience. A few years ago my friend took me mountain-biking on a trail off the Monterey coast. This was my first mountain biking experience, and I came away with a new understanding of Jesus' offer that we can "have life and have it to the full." Letting go of my own fears and insecurities, with mud flying everywhere and a body that knew I had not been biking in years, I found liberating freedom and great joy.

Another unexpected gift from God came as He prompted me to approach someone to mentor me. I was "all thumbs" asking, inviting, this sister in Christ to journey with me. The shared experiences of weeping together, laughing together, and praying together cannot be measured. Through this friendship God continues to reveal Himself to me. I am learning to open my heart to God in exciting and even scary ways. C.S. Lewis says about Aslan in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, "Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

The picture above captures in time five of our current 8th grade students when they were in 4th grade. Over the past four years God moved in and through these kids and their families. One of the most powerful factors in growing as people happens during shared experiences. Who are you sharing life with these days? How are you meeting in your basic need "to know and be known?" As we celebrate this Christmas season together, let us experience anew Immanuel, God with us.