Jun 152008

Not long back from Crossover.

Although the numbers were well down this year, there was still a great atmosphere and most things went well. Interestingly, even though the numbers were down, the activities were still very busy. It was just that there were fewer groups simply hanging around.

The labyrinth we ran was good, with only one ‘dissenting’ voice. It’s fascinating to hear youth leaders comment on their ‘hyperactive’ kids as they watch them sit through fairly lengthy ‘meditations’. And the reaction from the kids themselves is always encouraging. Even the ones that you’d perhaps label as being ‘uninterested’ come out saying how great it was.

Highlight of the weekend? Quite possibly the thrashy, rock version of ‘How great Thou art’.

Will comment more later after I’ve had some sleep. Although it was a great weekend, there were still a lot of points worth chewing over.

Jun 062008

Next weekend is Crossover and my old youth group are going – a great mob of them too, something like 27. Anyway, I was helping out tonight and, by way of preparation, everyone with a tent was invited to bring it along to try pitching them in the church hall. It meant that we could see just how serviceable they were and what their actual size was.

I was seriously impressed by one that was there – a popup tent. It was so cool. It was erected in seconds, literally. You can see a video of them here (scroll down the page a bit). Mind you, it took us considerably longer to work out how it folded back up. I wish I’d seen that video before trying to decipher the instructions.

That said, I’m not even camping at Crossover. I’ve got a bed for the night in one of the accommodation blocks.

On the subject of Crossover – I’m heading up the pastoral team again and, once more, we’re hosting the labyrinth. I’m really keen to get feedback on it this year, particularly the music. It was specially composed for the labyrinth by a friend. I think it works well, but it’s more ‘classical’ than we’ve used before, so I’ll be interested to hear how it works for the age group.

May 172008

No, I don’t mean the twisted and contorted way my mind works. Rather, I’ve been trying to put together some thoughts for the labyrinth at Crossover this year. The general theme for the festival is ’10’ – it’s Crossover number 10 – and there’s the obvious ’10 commandments’ idea which a number of agencies are picking up on. That got me thinking about ‘rules’ and how much pressure we put on ourselves to follow the rules, to be a ‘good Christian’. And it also made me realise that we so often distort our understanding of the ‘rules’ and put them first – we have to follow the rules before we can be called a Christian. And this is just so wrong. God’s grace means that we are offered forgiveness despite being unable to follow the rules. What’s more, the ‘rules’ are there, not to show us what we need to do before we can be accepted by God, but just how much we are incapable of being ‘perfect’ and are therefore fully reliant on God’s mercy (yes, I’ve been reading Luther for my recent Reformation Theology exam). In other words: the law is there to convict us; God’s grace is there to save us.

I want the labyrinth to reflect some of this and also what the proper response to the ‘rules’ is. So, my thoughts for the labyrinth stations are as follows:

  1. Our rules – everyday rules in society, work, relationships
  2. God’s rules – 10 commandments, love one another. Easy or hard? Like ‘society’ or different? How?
  3. Keys/chains – what is the ‘key’ to getting it right? Do we unlock our life or lock ourself into impossible patterns of behaviour?
  4. Gate/door – does our ‘key’ unlock the door to ‘good living’? Can we follow rules to get us into the Kingdom of God? Keys don’t work; need to knock and let God open the door. Jesus is the gate.
  5. New rules – Jesus hasn’t got rid of the law. Are there new rules? Do we now have to keep them for sure?
  6. Freedom – God’s rules are not to bind us but to free us. But what is freedom?
  7. Service – freedom and servitude, but not contradictory. Not just saved ‘from’, but also saved ‘for’. Saved to serve, but God’s service does not bind or constrict. Service to God ushers in the kingdom of God – a foretaste of freedom to serve God wholeheartedly and to love unconditionally.

Main question is – is it a coherent whole? In my mind it is, but that’s because I am probably filling in the gaps unconsciously. And I also need to come up with some activity for each one.

Comments and suggestions welcomed.

Nov 292007

Planning for Crossover 2008 is now officially underway. The dates are confirmed and the website has had a revamp (and no apologies for it looking familiar – it’ll get properly ‘themed’ when the graphics bods have had a go).

The theme is ’10’ or ‘X’ (think Roman numerals) since this is Crossover number 10 (well, duh!) and there’ll be a bit of a party atmosphere, we hope.