On Friday night our CTCYM Community Living Center shared in a moving, humorous and thought provoking worship service. Every team came forward & each CTCYMer was invited to share. As if in a cascading litany, young person after young person spoke the phrase “I saw God” or “I saw God’s love.” In a manner at once casual and deeply reflective, they were reporting on a Matthew 25 experience. “Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me’ (Matt 25:40).
I saw God on a ladder; I saw God holding a paint brush; I saw God lying under a floor pounding in floor joists; I saw God in a client. The list goes on and on. I saw God or saw God’s love in action – working in nursing homes, building wheel chair ramps, painting, washing windows, cleaning up, washing flea infested dogs, mowing the yard, helping a homeless guy walking by, putting in a new storm door, doing new things we’d never done before, cooking. I saw God or saw God’s love in relationships with each other, with clients, with new friends. One of the adults spoke of “Angels dropped out of a white van” (a reference to our transportation).
This isn’t heresy. This is not a mistaken identification of CTCYMers as God. We are not God, merely the Lord’s children. Rather it is an understanding of God in action with us, around us and through us. It is a living witness to Jesus keeping his promise of Matthew 28:20. “I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.” Both seasoned adults and young persons share a story of singing for a “client” who is in hospice Maybe one of the youth summarized it best when he opened his remarks, “I saw God in so many places it’s hard to pick one to talk about.”
I couldn’t help but think again of the prayer of Aelred of Rievaulx (circa 1147-1167 A. D., and popularized in the musical Godspell): “To know Him more clearly; to love Him more dearly; to follow Him more nearly.” This, I think, was and is the great and holy project of CTCYM. I was privileged to share in the mission.