Sunday, November 13, 2011

Spirituality Night: With Such a Cloud of Witnesses

I led Spirituality Night again a few weeks ago, as a combination of day of the dead honoring/remembrance, discussion of who has been influential in our spirituality/faith, and a bit of reflection through Bible verses. I read some passages, we reflected and shared with the community, and I wrapped it up with another passage.

I read Romans 8 first. Some of the most powerful verses I focused on:

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Then I read Hebrews 12.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

We then had a few minutes of silence to reflect on the passages, before sharing about our clouds of witnesses.
I shared about two of my friends who have been especially a part of my spirituality and faith. My friend Madeleine died when we were 15, and I had a hard time grappling with God after. It took a while for me to understand her vibrancy and fullness in the life she had lived and how it interacted with spirituality. Also during this time, I became close to Victoria Joy, who I credit from saving me from who I was becoming.

Taken from one of my essays to apply to a service program this year:

I met my friend Victoria Joy when we were in sixth grade.  We were casual friends through middle school and began getting closer when we started high school.  During this time, another friend of mine had cancer and eventually succumbed to it at the end of freshman year.  I went through a very difficult period of grief, during which many of my friends did not really understand what I was going through.  I ended up feeling distanced from my core group of friends and felt really alone.  Victoria Joy then truly became my best friend. 

Victoria Joy is one of the strongest Christians I know.  Though many of us went to church, most people I knew in high school were not very vocal about their faith.  Victoria Joy was never afraid of that.  She has been a shining example to me of how to display your faith to others and truly live out Christ’s mission.  She also was the main source of support during that very difficult time, and sometimes, I really think she saved my life.  I was never truly suicidal to the point of planning my death, but there were some dark times during that period that I just wished it would end.  But when I was around Victoria Joy, I could somehow see the light in my life more vividly. 

Though we live far apart now, we are still very close.  She knows me as if she is my sister.  I know how strong God is with her, because she seems to intuitively know when I am feeling at my lowest point, even now.  I aspire to be like her, so supportive and strong in my faith.  She brought me out of such a dark place and continues to be a strong presence in my life.  Even if we never live near each other again, I know that God will keep the connection between us strong, because we are connected through faith.

After everyone was finished sharing, I then wrapped things up reading Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 "For Everything There is a Season."

Playlist for Spirituality Night:
How Much Can One Heart Hold-Kate Campbell
Immanuel-Michael Card
His Eye Is On The Sparrow-Lauryn Hill
Lean On Me-Kirk Franklin
Family of God-Darrell Adams
Peace Comes Stealing Stealing Slow-Kate Campbell
This Love-Mary Mary
Hold Me Now-Kirk Franklin
What a Friend-Mary Mary
I Am Not Forgotten-Israel & New Breed
Sweet By & By-Darrell Adams
Surely We Can Change-David Crowder Band

My dearest Victoria Joy turns 23 this week, so I while I needed to write this post anyway, the timing worked out since I wanted to tell her what a difference she has made in my life. And Romans 8:28 is her favorite verse. Love you sistah!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Naomi. This shows me what the writer means in 1 John 2:14.

    I write to you, young people,
    because you are strong
    and the word of God abides in you,
    and you have overcome the evil one.