I recently had the privilege to join the youth on the Mystery Trip to Zion National Park in Utah. Our topic for the week was love, and we worked through what love is in the various contexts in which love is expressed. Love in a Christian community is a commitment to seek the good of one another and to promote the good others seek on your behalf. Trips like this are important for communities of love because they promote a special union that only intense time in very close proximity can afford (e.g. 30 hours on the road!). This shared experience of both time and place increases the intensity and exclusivity of the relationship, promoting greater union, which in turn yields a greater transformation in the community. There was nothing short of miraculous transformation as students grappled with hard things and realigned their lives to the purposes of God! While the location is always a great highlight of these trips, it pales in comparison to the mutual gratification of love in the community of faith. As we are joined to one another, Christ is present in our midst and we catch glimpses of His glory, a taste of the eternal life yet to come. Parents who dare to come connect to their children in ways they do not at home, as both the child and parent come to see and relate to one another in a higher way… as brothers and sisters in Christ. The great diversity of these groups testify to the redemptive community of Christ, for there is no other common interest that would have brought a group like this together… only the longing for the true Zion!
Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.
All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.
For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.
Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.