Next week, Triennium youth can look forward to engaging preaching
by Mari Graham Evans | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — “Why are we here?” and “What is God about to do?” will be the guiding questions on the first day of the 2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium next week.
Addressing those questions during worship on Tuesday will be the Rev. Sera Chung, director of the Asian American Program at Princeton Theological Seminary. The theme for the first day is “Tune My Heart,” with the Scripture passage Psalm 100.
For Chung, this theme manifests itself in even more questions: “How do we ‘tune our hearts’ when life gives us songs to sing that are major and minor, sweet and bitter, loud and silent?” she wrote in an email. “How do we come into God’s presence? Better yet, how can we sing our way into God’s presence? These are the questions I want to explore with everyone at PYT, especially since we are experiencing a time of great change in the church and deep distress in the world.”
Tying the questions into Scripture, Chung says that “in Psalm 100, make a joyful noise ‘all the earth’ suggests a communal worship — a kind of worship that not only involves individual prayers and private conversations with God, but the whole people of God. Starting on the first day of worship, we will be tuning our hearts to worship God together. This means that we will be resonating with each other in our joys, pains, commonalities and differences, imparting a depth and fullness that is vastly richer than the sound of individual notes played otherwise.”
Following Chung later in the week, the Rev. Dr. David Gambrell, the associate for worship at the Presbyterian Mission Agency, will address Thursday’s question: “What are the things that make us wander?”
Basing his sermon on Luke 15, Gambrell will preach on “our tendency to wander from Jesus’ way,” he wrote in an email. Preaching on three parables — the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal and his brother — Gambrell said his goal is to “proclaim the persistent grace of the God who searches us out and welcomes us home.”
Gambrell points out that young people are not unaware of “the realities of sin and brokenness in the church and the world.” In addressing people’s tendencies to wander away from Jesus, Gambrell wants Triennium participants “to know and trust the hope of the gospel and the transforming power of God’s love.”
“I believe God has empowered this generation with amazing gifts for the healing of the world,” he said. “So, another aspect of my sermon will be to encourage participants not to hide their gifts, but to offer them to God, saying: ‘Here’s my heart.’”
Gambrell, a parent of two teenagers as well as a confirmation class teacher, says that he is constantly “challenged and inspired by the deep faith and faithfulness of the young people in my life. I’m especially grateful for the passion, creativity, and courage they bring to everything they do.”
Presbyterian Youth Triennium is a gathering for high school age youth from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church that occurs every three years. The 2019 event is July 16-20 at Purdue University. The theme for the 2019 event is “Here’s My Heart.” The Presbyterian Youth Triennium is supported by your gifts to the Pentecost Offering.
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