Mediating mirror is another of my favourite metaphors in Youth Ministry: a multifaceted approach and Sam Richards of Oxford CYM does a brilliant job in unpacking it – well worth a read! It is a concept I (Sally – Paul has been called into work this Sunday evening) that I think about a lot. I think about what the church as a mirror reflects back to people about who they are. It is another of those areas where I want to ask forgiveness from people where I have failed to mediate that they are God’s beloved children, precious, unique and worthy of respect, acceptance and understanding. Today liturgically we celebrate the baptism of Jesus and I love the insight that Eugene Peterson brings on what God said to Jesus:
This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.
I got to preach at a baptism this afternoon – one of those do you fancy having a go moments and the child was so beautiful, so engaged with what was happening and I found my self talking about the importance of being loved, by family, friends but most of all by God and how God could say exactly these words to this little child whose parents had brought him to church in baptism. I had the joy of helping children light candles for the child reflecting their prayers for him, I got to share in a very special day and talk to around thirty people who probably rarely go to church about how God loves them and I think we created the welcoming, inclusive, hospitable environment that we seek to. As my Vicar said in his preach today – or at least this is what I heard – until we can accept such words as the Father said to Jesus for ourselves it is difficult to be able to offer the love to others that should characterize the church. I don’t always live in it in my heart but my head knows how much God loves me and I continually strive to communicate that to others – not always something I find easy but God loves you is what I want to be mediated through the mirror of my ministry.
I have written a previous post on this theme but with a more individual focus see it here.
Reference: Sam Richards Mediating Mirror in Sally Nash (ed) Youth Ministry: a multi-faceted approach. London: SPCK, 2011.