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October 22, 2008

No Commandment Left Behind

No Commandment Left Behind

"And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength." Mark 12:30

This verse was Jesus' reply to questioning skeptics, who attempted to cause Jesus to contradict Himself in His teachings and beliefs. Sounds familiar. However, unlike answers we may commonly give in class to similarly constructed questions, Jesus breezed through these questions with ease. But this is not the only reason that this verse has been especially relevant this week. As I was reading it in one of my earlier devotions I realized that here at Summit Semester almost everything we do is to glorify God in one of these areas. Areas that, I am also realizing, have been commonly overlooked before Summit Semester.
The first of these, our hearts, is the one I think I have neglected the most in my life previous to Summit Semester. This was made especially evident to me last night in small groups. The girls split up into two groups, and both groups began the first half by discussing an article entitled, "Becoming a Safe Person, Can People Come to You with Their Problems?" It made for an excellent leadway for the second half when both of the groups came together and one of the girls shared about some "baggage" she has in her life. Suddenly we all realized that we were not alone in much of the shame and struggles we have all suppressed by hiding behind a "false self." We saw the compassion, acceptance, and love given to her as she put herself into possibly one of the most vulnerable situations of her life. This caused a beautifully chaotic domino effect. After she finished girls broke up into little groups all across the room and poured out some of their deepest, most shameful secrets. I myself let pour, through a river of tears, secrets that I have never even hinted about to the best of my friends in the most "safe" of situations. Here, at Summit, these were met with nothing but understanding, assurance of God's redemptive power, and His unfailing, infinite love for every single child of His, regardless.
This sort of cleaning of our hearts can only be followed by praises of joy for the incredible God we serve. This is exactly what happened Friday night when a group of worship leaders from Grace Church came out and led a worship service for us which consisted of singing, Scripture reading, communion and time for individual and small group prayer. During this time, it would have been impossible for a believing soul in the room to not be pouring out love to his Creator. I heard many remarks later from individuals that they have never felt the presence of God as they felt it that night. I myself realized the power of prayer to create an indescribable and never before experienced intimacy with God.

The action of our minds has been no exception to the growth and learning that has been happening here. Though Dr. Bauman is on vacation, we are still being challenged to think critically though every area of life for our Lord. Dr. Williams is here in Dr. Bauman's place for the week. Today he spoke about the importance of poetry and how it ought to be taught to give the most impact for young poets. He also spoke about Deconstructionism and why this view can not hold ground in any kind of logical debate because of its self-refutation.
Last, but most definitely not least, we are striving to love God with our strength. We are definitely being challenged to at least glorify God thought sportsmanship and team playing. Today we began our first volleyball tournament. All who wanted to participate signed up and we were split into eight teams of four. This has allowed for relationships to build and grow because we pull together as a team through games and practices where we may not have had situations or circumstances to as easily get to know people otherwise.

We were asked in family meeting a few weeks back to evaluate what we expected to get out of Summit Semester compared to what was happening in reality. At that point I realized two things. First of all I realized just how high my expectations really were. I realized what it would actually take for a program and a group of people to meet some of my ridiculously high anticipations. Then, almost dumbfounded, I realized, in reality, that I had no idea what I was getting myself into in coming to Summit. I could never have imagined God blessing me with situations like these and I am sure that once its over six short weeks from now I will never again be part of such a great community.

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