As a youth ministry team, we carry out school mission weeks several times a year. This is where we spend a week in a school and deliver input based around a theme or piece of Scripture. It is usually a lively affair, centred round stage presentations whereby the theme is explored through game shows, video clips, dramas and testimonies. It is an opportunity for the school to come together as one community to celebrate their faith.
Fittingly, our most recent mission week was built on the theme 'From Darkness into Light', thinking about the story of the road to Emmaus. It details how the disciple Cleopas and his companion are walking away from Jerusalem to a town called Emmaus, following the death of Christ. A man unknown to them joins along the way, and they later discover this man is Jesus.
In particular, we were exploring how we can find ourselves shrouded in darkness and it is only by accepting God in our lives that we can move into light. The disciples on the road to Emmaus were in darkness, so how could they not have known whose presence they were in? Why was it only when He broke and blessed the bread that their eyes were opened?
I will admit there are many times when I am completely oblivious to what is occurring around me. And this theme made me consider a host of different areas for self-improvement. How can I become more aware of the needs of others? How can I live to my true potential, and steer clear of the pitfalls along the way? There are so many times we find ourselves in darkness – not literally speaking, of course, but in our thoughts and actions. So what can we do in this Easter season to move into the light?
Our mission week concluded with a school Mass in which one of the hymns was 'Shine Jesus shine'. The lyrics almost explain the theme by themselves:
'Lord, the light of your love is shining. In the midst of the darkness, shining.'
No matter how dark the world may seem, God's light is constantly shining.
'Jesus, light of the world, shine upon us.'
Bring me out of darkness; let me experience Your light.
'Set us free by the truth you now bring us.'
Open our eyes, so that we may see clearly.
It is a poignant message that should serve as a challenge to us. How can we best live in the light? How can we invite the Lord to shine on us when times are hard? How can we open our eyes to see clearly? With prayer and reflection, I am sure we can find out.
Dates for the diary:
Life and Soul + … An evening of prayer and praise before the Blessed Sacrament with an opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Wednesday 3 May at St Teresa's, 34 Queensway, Penwortham, PR1 0DS
Wednesday 7 June at St Bridget's, Cinnamon Brow, Warrington, WA2 0EP
The evenings will both start at 7pm and end at 8pm but feel free to come and go any time.