From Ray Hommeyer, Young Adult Group
A peer recently said to me, “Google has ruined conversation.” I was struck by this comment and realized that, more specifically, Google at my fingertips has impacted my practice of wondering. This triggered a memory: I was about 10 years old, sitting around our campfire and became captivated by the beauty and power of the flames. “How does fire exist?!” I exclaimed softly, enamored. My friend quickly supplied the scientific answer. I felt embarrassed by my ignorance and not-knowing, but I also felt frustrated. I hadn’t wanted to know how fire is explained scientifically, I had been in a state of wonderment and was trying to name the feeling and share the experience.
Wonder, both as surprise of the beauty and cruelty this world offers, and as an act of imagining what our world could be, is key to practicing faith. In an age when we can find answers in a matter of seconds any time of day, taking the time to wonder is incredibly important. Reading fiction is one way I open myself to wonder. Being part of the generation to have grown up while the Harry Potter books were being published, many of us in the Young Adult Group love the Wizarding World. (We’ve gotten together outside of our regular meetings for Harry Potter-themed trivia nights!) Some of our conversations have referenced the podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, the catchphrase for which is “Reading Fiction Doesn’t Help Us Escape The World, It Helps Us Live In It.”
When else do adults practice the type of wonder that is visionary, that helps us act as John Lewis invites on the podcast Becoming Wise, as though Beloved Community already exists now? I continue to be grateful for fiction and all that it offers, and I am learning that church, especially the sharing of our joys and sorrows, is a time when I’m able to feel into Beloved Community.
In the Young Adult Group, we start with two check-in questions that frame the sharing of our joys and sorrows: How is it with your soul? Where in your life have you experienced the Holy? The most recent post on our young adult blog, Staying a Beat Longer, starts to unpack the first question and what we mean by soul. Reflecting on the latter question, I’ve noticed that listening to stories of the Holy in people’s lives often invites in wonder. Inherent in moments of the Holy is a not-knowing, an embrace of the Mystery of this world. Engaging in moments of ritual, like regular check-in questions and the lighting of the chalice, helps us to hold the complexity of not-knowing.
In a culture where certainty is commended and knowing well-practiced, I am grateful for church: for the moments when we come together, recognizing our interconnectedness, celebrating Mystery, and practicing wonder. It’s no wonder we keep coming back, again and again, to be together and share in what is Holy!
To learn more about the Young Adult Group, check out our blog by Meggie Exner: https://stayingabeatlonger.com/. Email email@example.com to join the YA mailing list.
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