Theme: The Church as Witness
Plenary Speaker: Bishop Kenneth Carder; Matthew Nickoloff, preacher
Lectionary Texts: Deuteronomy 6; Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 84; 1Corinthians 12:12-27; Acts 1:1-8
Today we had a chance to move from theological doctrines into more of an "embodied" plenary session with Bishop Carder. Bishop Carder bearings a wealth of experience and wisdom to such a discussion about the ministry of the church as it witnesses to the world. Keeping with the theme of resurrection from Monday, Bishop Carder explained that the church's ministry begins with the resurrection. The session began with Bishop Carder asking students " in what form is the risen Christ present today?" He then went on to explain how the church is to be Christ's presence in the world today through its "witness." However, Bishop Carder was careful to explain that the presence of Christ in the world today is not limited to the church- God moves without the church's participation as well.
After hearing a short testimony from a DYA alum, Bishop Carder continued by outlining the four ways he believe the church makes the presence of Christ known in the world: "The church is a herald, a sign, a foretaste and an instrument. The church is a herald when it proclaims God's kingdom. The church is a sign because it is not the destination itself, but it points to the destination. The church is a foretaste when it gives the world a glimpse (or taste) of heaven. And finally, the church is an instrument in that it is able to be employed in the bringing of the kingdom..."God brings the kingdom. But the church can do things to erect signs that point to the kingdom." the session concluded with students sharing stories of how they see their own congregations working as heralds, signs, foretastes, and instruments of God.
During the afternoon, participants enjoyed a time of rest before getting to experience our second prayer practice time. After a great meal provided for us by the congregation at Duke (the congregation worships in Duke chapel), we enjoyed our first student-planned and led worship time. The service had a very contemporary feel and Matthew Nickoloff, our resident musician, preached about how God chooses us to be children of God.
"If my identity and sense of worth are tied up in what I look like... Boy, I ain't worth much!... [If this is how you think] you're doomed to be insecure and to not know who you are." -Bishop Kenneth Carder
"I saw this old guy and was like, 'Oh great, I'm gonna fall asleep!' But I didn't! I was really paying attention... I didn't snooze at all!" -DYA participant
"You can sing harmonies! I love you!" -DYA participant to peer singing harmoniously
"I LOVE CHOCOLATE SOOOOOO MUCH!!!" -DYA participant responding to Bishop Carder's description of a foretaste being like getting to sample his grandmother's fudge before it was finished.
"God's claim on us is this: I know you by name. You are mine. I bought you with a price." -Bishop Kenneth Carder
Submitted by Russ Bowlin, Mentor