Jennifer Llamas, Youth and Family Ministry Director
An international pandemic can teach us many things. Over the past few months, everyone I know has faced unique challenges and been presented with opportunities to find ways to navigate a socially distanced world. As human beings, we thrive on connecting with others, and this can feel difficult during an economic shutdown or a city-wide quarantine. The days of gathering in large groups, attending parties, going to concerts, or hanging out in a crowded restaurant have all been paused. How have we filled these empty spaces?
During the month of July in Youth Ministry, we are exploring our Power of Understanding which includes the qualities of comprehension, realization, and insight. So far this month, we have considered the question, “Who are we?”; we have explored how we can love others without judgment; and, we have examined the idea of finding and trusting the Truth within ourselves as we strive to see beyond those things that are only visible to the eye. This week, we will lean into the idea of using our Power of Understanding to find points of connection with others and with God.
If you have participated in on-line learning for school over the past few weeks, logged in to your workspace from home, checked out on-line church services, or caught up with friends and family via Zoom chats, then you have experienced novel ways of remaining connected to others despite extenuating circumstances. A decrease of social events or planned large group commitments has also opened space for deeper contemplation of the many ways we can remain together while apart and for an enriched understanding of the values that influence our decisions about who we truly connect with and why.
Often, when we think of the word “understanding” we think about how we interpret things around us, or about comprehending things on a deeper level. Understanding also means to “have a disposition of empathy and consideration for others.” Personally, I am a big fan of all these definitions to help us unpack the idea of our Power of Understanding, and specifically, our understanding of others around us. It is of great benefit to become more aware of other people’s perspectives and feelings. This week’s lessons and activities invite our children, teens, and families to look for similarities we share with others and to also celebrate our differences. When we come from a place deep within, our God center, we better understand that we are all part of one human family.
Looking through our lens of spiritual understanding, we approach life from our higher consciousness, allowing us to act with more tolerance and less judgment. Here’s to a week filled with meaningful, healthy, and safe connections!