I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend with some Sr. High youth and staff at the Street Retreat in Denver. The theme was: Draw the Circle Wide and we spent the time learning about poverty issues. On Sunday morning we shared our experiences with the Denver congregation. As each of the youth shared a brief sentence testimony I was struck by how important weekends like this are.
Here’s why: Our kids (and us too,if we are honest) are living in a world where empathy and compassion are not always valued. Often the culture tells us that these qualities make one weak. In fact, the opposite is true. Empathy is a primary quality that we need to support for our children. They learn this through watching us show empathy, through experiences where their minds are opened to the realities of the world and they are given tools and knowledge to help them respond to what they see with love, and by learning about Jesus and his radical empathy and compassion.
Jesus had a lot to say about power and privilege. And, Jesus did a lot to face these issues in his life. He reached out to those separated from the culture dues to physical and mental health issues, gender status, cultural judgement, etc. He lived a life of empathy and his compassion only strengthened his message. As followers of the way of Jesus, we are called to do the same.
Thank you for your support of the Street Retreat. Your use of the grocery cards, specifically, gave these youth the ability to attend. They, and I, are/am grateful.
May we always look for ways to be Jesus’ hands and feet in the world.