On February 13th, 2016, our goal as Swansea Youth was to make the theme of the day, ‘Dare 2 Love,’ our mission. The young people came together to serve in whatever capacity they could, be it song, music or the spoken word.
The service started with a word of introduction and a song or two after which everyone was encouraged to divide into groups for Bible study. The study focused on the teachings of Jesus and what it means for us. In our youth group we specifically discussed what it means to “take Jesus’ yoke upon us” and about “seed falling in fertile ground”. Though these stories were told in a way in which the people that lived at the time would best understand, the teachings still have relevance for the 21st century as people are still heavily burdened by their past and current lives and there is still plenty of pressure and distractions in our lives that keep us from developing our faiths. These stories show that despite all this, God still offers a way to lighten our loads.
The service continued with a video about how our actions, however small, affect those around us. During this time everyone received a card with positive words and sayings, and were asked to pass it on to someone that needs some encouragement.
Next we had a beautiful musical item from our youth Jo and Trish on the violin and piano performing the hymn, ‘the Quiet Place’, with emotion and depth.
The performance was followed by a poem theatrically told by Tyler. The thought-provoking poem called on us all to rise above appearances and material possessions to serve God with integrity and sincerity.
The sermon was delivered by Ps John Surridge. The message was about Moses and his calling at the burning bush. He explored how God uses imperfect yet willing people to carry out His work and how He is still calling people to join Him for His great work today.
In the afternoon, the plan was to visit the local nursing home and share God’s love through music. Upon our arrival, we were ushered into a room of seniors and took our positions, ready to sing.
We started singing from the hymn book and asked for favourites as we went along. As we offered to share the paper versions of our hymns with some residents, we found that some didn’t need any, as they knew the words by heart! We also sang choruses that perhaps weren’t as familiar, but they were enjoyed just the same. The more songs we sang, the more enthused we became. We continued to sing…about 15 songs consecutively – they didn’t want us to stop! Of course, though, as the old saying goes, ‘all good things must come to an end…’
When we had finished, we greeted and briefly chatted with each of the residents; presenting them with cards to remind them they are loved, an important message for any time of the year – and not only in the time surrounding Valentine’s Day. After this, we took our departure. Despite our tired voices, we found it was a blessing to have an opportunity to have our theoretical theme transformed into a practical act of participation.
As individuals, we are often afraid to interact with people who we consider to be different to us. As youth at Swansea, we make up a diverse group – a variety of ages, personal experiences and nationalities; but we had a shared mission and that was to ‘Dare to Love.’ We don’t know the full effects it may have on the lives of the residents, or even the carers, but we do know that reminding others of God’s love is a blessing to all involved.
Daring to love is what God asks us to do. In 1 Peter 4:10, we are reminded that God has given each of us gifts in order to serve others and share His gift of grace with them. There’s no doubt that it may be daunting, difficult or downright uncomfortable at times, but God asks us to be willing to be used by Him, regardless of the perceived outcome. He understands that making a choice to love others is a risky business. After all, God sent His Son Jesus to this world to die for us, knowing we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). What a humbling and beautiful example!
May we daily be reminded of the impact of that ‘dare’ taken so long ago and be willing to share with others, whether by words or actions, the joyous hope that it brings us today.
By Kris and Johanna