Posted in Life, Ministry

LCMS National Youth Gathering part 4

On Tuesday night, we had pizza in our hotel for supper, then headed out to the Superdome for the evening mass event, which was a worship service with Holy Communion. We sat in the upper deck. The event was an interesting mix of contemporary and traditional, praise songs and liturgy, drama and preaching. For me, the most impressive part was the youth choir and band. What voices! What a sound! What a talented group of young people!

Wednesday was our last day of the gathering. We loaded up and the van and drove up to the Superdome, parking nearby for a quick getaway. The final mass gathering included different colored “boom sticks” that made different notes and provided endless entertainment for us. Heading out about 11:30 am, we got home about 12:30 am Thursday morning. Thankfully no traffic, and a nice supper in Tallahassee (much to Adam-nole’s delight).

It was on the ride home that I saw the group bond the best of all the days. Lots of conversation, laughter, sharing, and support. Guys who had been pretty quiet for days were suddenly conversant. It took that long for our group to really come together. And then it was over.

Cleaning out the van was disgusting. Food, drink, bottles, gum, candy, money (I kept it), playing cards, electronics, books, and food wrappers covered the floor. Ew.

The best part of the gathering: spending extended time together with the youth. Talking with them, learning from them, watching them interact was an opportunity to see their personalities and faith.

The worst part of the gathering: the crowds. In the dome, in the restaurants, on the sidewalks, just so many, many people. Yes, I expected it, but so much time was spend negotiating a sea of people. Sometimes bigger isn’t better.

Overall impression of the gathering: what an effort by so many people who gave so much of their time and energy! From parents who came along to those who worked the booths to those who made sure we crossed intersections safely, a lot of adults care deeply about the next generation of believers. What would Jesus have though of it? I believe he would have loved spending time with the people, both young and old, who came and served and made a difference in New Orleans.

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