My Experience at the Canadian Anglian Lutheran Youth Gathering (CLAY)

Sermon for Youth Sunday

By Andrea Morrison                                                  

When I was asked to preach this Sunday I was unsure as to what preaching was…I was also very unsure of what I was getting myself into. That being said, that was the same unsure feeling that I had about going to British Colombia. So, before I delve any deeper I am going to show you a short trailer which will accompany a longer video which you will get a chance to view during coffee hour.

This summer I was given the opportunity of a lifetime.

I was given the opportunity to travel across the country to Kamloops B.C. for CLAY, also known as the Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth gathering. Lao Tzu wrote that “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step,” actually, it started with waking up at 3am in the morning so that we didn’t miss our flight!

I myself was unsure as to what I was going to learn or how I would re-establish my faith and my relationship with God. I also learned that Gravol does wonders, especially if you are not a goof flyer! All jokes aside, the Toronto Home Team was going to CLAY unsure, excited, nervous and a whole mix of emotions. Although we were the first Toronto team to attend, and we only spent 2 days together before flying to B.C, we felt like we had known each other for years.

I knew that this was a trip, but I was more interested in how I was going to re-connect with God and how I could learn more about God through worship, through song, through dance, through new friends and through being in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to.

I found God more in 3 days than in my whole life.

I tend to find God is more prominent for me in nature. Being surrounded by beautiful mountains in a small city was incredibly rejuvenating for me. While we were in B.C., it was amazing to be surrounded by 700 other youth all praising one God.
Most people many think that you are only praising God in the walls of a church, or by saying your prayers before you go to sleep. But I found out it is so much greater than that, it’s so much more. We praised God at CLAY through doing “servant work.” We went on a trip to Thompson River and did a beach shoreline clean up.

It was amazing being able to get outside and help the community.

I think that one of my favourite experiences was when we went to the B.C. Wildlife Park. Yes, seeing the grizzly bears, elks and grey wolves were cool, but it was what we said during the evening when the sun was setting. If you can close your eyes and picture being enclosed by the beauty of the mountains, with the sun’s delicate rays of light streaming through the tall trees and onto our faces as we worshiped. I was filled with nothing but raw emotion. I put my heart out there and gave whole heartedly for God to see. It was at that exact moment that I felt the blood rush through my veins.

I knew and felt that God was with me.

I know that God is always there, but this just validated it even more so for me. When we were on the plane flying out of Kamloops I felt more relaxed than the initial flight, the free pretzels helped! But flying 35,000 feet in the air and seeing nothing but clear blue skies above me and the Rockies underneath with their snow-covered peaks was a pure, spiritual moment that is so hard to explain.

I felt closer to heaven.

David Jeremiah said “God created the mountains and the oceans as therapy to His people.” I couldn’t agree more. I realized that although I was nervous and wasn’t sure what to expect going to B.C. I did realize that it is not about seeing new landscapes, but about having fresh eyes to see things with.To finish off, there is one final quote that I would like to add: John A Shedd wrote that “a plane in an airport is safe, but that is not what planes were built for.” At CLAY I learned to take every opportunity you get, be who you are without shame, do wrong to none and live as if it is your last day on Earth. When I pass on, and hopefully get to heaven I want to tell God I have not a shred of talent left- I used all you gave me.”

~Thank you ~


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