Last Friday night the ANAG September DTS closed the week with a bang. We believe Jesus loves us, he loves us and wants us to sing and shout and dance with joy: so we had an 80s dance party. Celebration; the welcoming of all nations and all generations; Joy; Blue eyeshadow. It was boisterous and lighthearted and loud. There were balloons and fairy lights. It was heartwarming to see young and old partaking in this sense of community, this togetherness, this joy. At one point in the night we had every single trainee at the party, and a number of staff, too. I think worship can come in lots of forms. Worship can look like your Sunday best and pews and preachers, but I also think It can be dressed in scrunchies and sweatbands: expressed through dance moves of those who don’t necessarily obtain the gift of rhythm. I think Friday night we worshipped.
This week was a different one. We spent the majority of Monday and Tuesday taking a ‘Walk Through the Bible’ with Wayne Hughes. We went through the whole Old Testament on Monday (along with corresponding hand signals) and the New Testament on Tuesday. It highlighted the pivotal stories in the Bible, along with giving a deeper understanding of both chronology and geographic location. I learned a lot and it was good to get back to the basics. His word never fails.
On Wednesday we delved into the topic ‘The Lordship of Christ’. Our speaker was our very own school leader, Pete Sampey. We opened with a conversation on rights and how Jesus gave up all of his. He gave up the right to live in his hometown, to settle down and start a family, to chase whatever personal ambitions he may have had. He sacrificed reputation and the right to a fair trial. Some days it may feel like he’s asking a lot of us but never asks us to give more than he has. He is a good leader. Going into Thursday we looked into our own lives and tried to determine what ‘rights’ we needed to lay down to the Lord. We wrote them down on paper, laid them at the foot of the cross, and then burned them. It was a physical act of giving over our expectations (that we hold onto as rights) and all the physical things that we cling so tightly to on this earth, back to the one who created them in the first place. Thursday night as a base we went to see ‘Suffragettes’, a movie which was filmed partially on our very own campus (exciting stuff!). The movie was about women’s fight to get the vote in England, which was funny timing considering our topic in class. The main character gave up many of her rights, including that to live the life she had imagined, to fight for a cause much larger than herself. She had to sacrifice much, but in the end, justice prevailed. Are we not called to a similar cause?
“It comes down to a simple choice,” Pete explained. “Do I believe it or not? And if I believe it, I believe it in any circumstance.” I hold onto expectations as rights. I hold on for security. Because it’s scary if we don’t. A college degree, a husband and a family, a retirement fund, health care. They all offer the illusion of immunity to the human condition of being lost. So we hold on tight. We hold on until our knuckles turn white. This week was about letting go.
“And so I turn these empty hands skyward,” Annie F. Downs wrote “trusting they are better off this way.” I trust you, Lord. Have your way with me.