The countdown is on! In less than 12 hours I will be jumping on a plane, heading off on an adventure that I still know relatively little about. My feelings keep shifting from super excited to extremely nervous. I thought I'd stop (writing an assignment) for a moment to let you know what I'll be doing for the next few weeks. 12 months ago I didn't even know the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) existed and now I am heading off to Wittenberg in Germany (home of all things Luther) to participate in a conference they are hosting. A young adult representative from every country within the Lutheran church network has been invited to participate in this conference, which will be a two-week workshop. There will be around 140 representatives. I am attending on behalf of the Lutheran Church of Australia (and New Zealand). It is very humbling to be asked to attend. Only in the last few weeks have I come to fully appreciate the weight of what I am about to do and I want to do the best job possible of representing the LCA with honesty and most importantly with honour.
It is going to be a crazy big learning experience for me about so many different things: other cultures, the political, economic and spiritual states of other countries and how the Lutheran Church operates around the world. Saying this could get me in trouble but, from my perspective, living in the relative comfort of Australia has made the church (myself very much included) complacent. We complain a lot about trivial things and spout big, often misinformed, opinions on matters that don't directly affect us. I'm excited to set my "white western privilege" aside and learn from those who are facing situations we in Australia cannot even fathom.
The aim of the conference is to talk about many of the big issues the church is currently facing around the world. Among the agenda items are: Lutheran theology, how we can better work ecumenically, human rights, climate change, gender justice, social media and communication, and the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.
Part of my preparation has been to think through how the LCA works with and includes young people in meaningful decision making. This has forced me to reflect on whether or not we, as the LCA, are doing a good job including young people in decision making at all levels or if we simply see young people as "the future of the church", rather than as people who can participate meaningfully now. There are a few places where we are nailing it (pardon the Luther pun) and many places where we have a LOT of growing to do. I'm excited to see how the Lutheran church around the world includes young people and hopefully I can bring back some suggestions on how we can better listen to the voice of young people in our context.
It is going to be a massive few weeks so I would really appreciate your prayers!
Some things I would love prayer for are:
- Safe travel
- Security in my identity in Christ to be myself
- Clarity and wisdom about how to share the information about the LCA with honesty yet in a way that honours others
- Humility to listen and learn
- God’s sustaining power to get my introverted self through two weeks straight with 140 people (with few breaks) without freaking out and that any down time is supernaturally restful