I am praying for the laity and clergy of the Mountain Sky Conference as we prepare for Sunday morning worship.
This week, I will be flying to Montana to attend the 100th anniversary of Luccock Park Camp. All of our Mountain Sky church camps are located in some of the most beautiful places, and Luccock certainly does not disappoint. It is right next to Yellowstone National Park, and is surrounded by three mountains (Faith, Hope, and Charity) and then descends into Paradise Valley. Truly, God takes up summer residence here!
As I prepare to preach next week, I have been spending time learning the history of Luccock. It was formed to be the Montana Epworth League Institute. The Epworth League was a young adult organization in the Methodist Church, at one time boasting 1.75 million members! These institutes were created across the country to be a place where young people could experience the love of God and leave to be leaders in their churches and communities as disciples of Christ. As one of the clergy that helped form the one that became Luccock said, “Institutes have been built on the belief that the day will come when 300 leaguers will register at each of them. They will come joyously to search for life's wider limits and bounds; they will bring their questionings and their problems. They will face the facts of life and they will accept their full part in the responsibilities of life. They will endeavor to build a Christian community. They will learn to sing, to play, to pray, to share experiences for the common good. They will mold character, form ideals, determine destinies, and they will make life infinitely richer because they have built this 'City of God.' But must we say that the day will come? Rather let us say, “The day is now here.” Jesse Bunch, 1929.
The motto of the Epworth League was “Look up, lift up.” Look to the One who loves us, who calls us, and equips us. Lift up others around you so that they too can know the source of this Love.
I think I am going to “try that on” all week as I prepare for the Luccock celebration:
How can I continue to keep my thoughts focused on God, not just during prayer time, but throughout the day, so that my life becomes a prayer?
How can I keep before me the teachings of Jesus, measuring my actions (and inactions) against the Gospel’s call to love God and neighbor?
How can I keep the doorway of my soul open so that the Holy Spirit might pass through to guide me and direct me?
How can I keep my eyes and ears open to those around me, so that I may respond to the spoken and unspoken needs of others?
How can I speak out when injustice is experienced by another?
How can I support those around me, so that they, too, can find the encouragement to grow into the best versions of themselves?
Walk with me this week as we engage this spiritual practice. Who knows what God will do with us when we commit to “Look up, lift up”?