A couple of nights ago, three of our youth joined me in an online game of Clue with twenty
other youth groups across Minnesota. After some introductory games and orientation, our team was sequestered in a chat room where we were visited by characters from the game; Colonel Mustard, Mr. Green, Professor Plum and Mrs. White. Col. Mustard had a fake yellow paper mustache that kept falling off, which was hilarious because the actor actually HAD a blond mustache underneath. Each character had us play a game (Simon Says, a scavenger hunt, memorize items in a picture) to earn clues to solve the mystery. In the time between character visits we were able to catch up a little with each other, which is always awkward and amazing (isn’t it interesting that most of the really meaningful connections we have with people start out or get awkward at some point? Food for thought; maybe we need to stop avoiding awkward.)
When time ran out we sent in our best guess of Whodunit, where and with which weapon, and while the game organizer, Tony Ducklow at Summer Festival Camp, prepared to announce the winner, we heard from youth pastor Joelle Hassler,
who shared a message about judgment. She talked about the lunch table judgment she witnessed as an elementary and middle school student, about how you could be judged by your lunch box (or lack of one) and the contents of your lunch. (No pudding cup? Lame.) It was an example of all the superficial ways the world judges us, using appearances or temporary situations to define us and make us feel unworthy. Joelle told us that God does not judge us like that; God sees our hearts and our passions and if we allow it, will draw out those good things we have inside us and use them! She took us to the story of the Loaves and the Fishes (John 6:1-14) where there were 5,000 men and many women and children who were hungry and Jesus took one boy’s basket of five small loaves and two fishes, and blessed the food which multiplied and fed everyone there with twelve basketfuls of food left over. Joelle pointed out that that one boy’s gift of food didn’t seem like much, but he offered it freely. She said that any good thing you have or are in life, big or small, if you offer it to Jesus to use, he will accept it, and multiply it beyond imagining!
Maybe you have something you are already proud of: athletic or musical skills, or a prominent status on social media, or great grades. God can use any of those things, if you offer them up and trust in the direction God will take you. Maybe you are still working on finding or developing your passion. God can help you. The real point is that God knows you. God sees you. God created you wonderfully and wants a relationship with you. The best way to be in relationship with God is to trust God. You might be skeptical. You might think your life is unimportant, or you might be worried that God’s plan for you will be boring or difficult. Nothing is further from the truth. God’s plan for you is perfect and you are the exact right person for that plan. How do we find out God’s plan? We pray. We open up our hearts and offer up what we have. (Personally, when I do this it feels amazing—kind of like a spiritual stretch that restores my center of balance and breath.) And then we trust. We spend time with God every day and watch, work on ourselves, taking opportunities as they arise and keeping God in front of us at all times. It is never too late or too early to start doing this, or if you have slipped away, to return to doing this. And remember, it isn’t about how much you accomplish. You cannot prove yourself worthy through service or achievement. It is about letting God lead, and trusting.
We did not win the game of Clue, but we were all winners there, not taking ourselves too seriously, taking time for each other, taking time to hear about God. I had a lot of fun and speaking for myself, I was glad I gave up an hour and a half of my life that I would have spent scrolling through my phone or watching Netflix to do it. I think everyone else on our team (which was the most awesome team present) felt the same. If you are a Holy Trinity Youth and weren’t able to be there, I am sorry you missed it but I bet we will have other opportunities to get together, and when we do, I hope you will say yes!