The theme of this year's event is "I Am" and will explore the passages of the Old and New Testament in which God speaks, "I am who I am" and where Jesus says, "I am the vine, the bread of life and the good shepherd". Throughout the week we will reflect on the identity of God and our own identity as God's children. We will reflect on the questions, "Who is God?" and "Who am I?" These are questions I have been wrestling with all my life, it's become clear to me they are part of the journey. I love the mental gymnastics of exploring the breadth of God. Growing in understanding is exciting and enriching. I find the questions about my own identity harder to wrestle with. Who am I? What is God calling me to be and do today?
When I began working in the church as an educator I believed I was responding to a call to educational ministry. After 7 or 8 years of in this career I felt a strong sense that God was calling me to do more in the Church. I felt a passionate sense of vision for the Church; something more than a compartmentalized institution but a place where worship, education, mission, pastoral care and service are inextricably interwoven in a way that lives are changed; the world is changed. I have been working toward that vision for 17 years. Ministry has given me moments of profound blessing and the gift of walking with brothers and sisters on their spiritual journeys. Through all these years I have felt confident of one thing, God has called me to this ministry. This is my journey. Yet through all these years of ministry there has been an inner tugging, a pull to keep growing and becoming more. Who am I and who is God calling me to be?
As I prepare to lead a group of youth at Triennium to think about who God is, and who God is calling them to be, I recognize that these are questions for a lifetime, not just one week. I will board the plane to Indiana filled with excitement about working with a group of youth. It will be a joy and honor to take a step on the journey of faith with them. But I also go expecting God to speak to me through the voices of those I will meet. Something is churning in my soul, an inner pull to do something more. The same kind of lure that pulled me toward ordination is pulling me still. Is it to write? I want to, but I haven't quite figured out what to write about. Is it to find a more active role in social justice ministry? Sometimes I think so. I often long to be more actively hands on in fighting for justice and helping the poor. Perhaps, for the moment, it is to go and encourage a group of youth to explore God and who God is asking them to be. Maybe the best gift I can share will be to help them see that the journey of faith is not a puzzle you can solve once and for all. It is journey; a relationship with God, the "I Am," who calls us to respond in new ways to new opportunities. Who am I? A servant of God, listening for God's voice, seeking to understand where I am being called next. My prayer is that Triennium will once again be a place of clarity and inspiration for me and the other 5,000+ seekers. It always has been, I expect it will be again.