Just last April, I was given the honor of leading youth worship with Andee!
At the time, we were just coming into the Easter season and we were moved by Pope Francis’ Easter Vigil message:
“We cannot discover life by being sad, bereft of hope. The first stone to be moved aside is the lack of hope which imprisons us within ourselves. Without hope, we live as if the Lord were not risen, as if our problems were the centre of our lives.” -Pope Francis
It matched the readings for that Sunday wherein the Apostles are starting to go out and perform miracles and the disciples were growing in number. The Gospel featured the famous scene in which Thomas the unbeliever comes to believe in the risen Christ.
We related the readings + Pope Francis’ message to how we felt God moving the Youth into a new season: a season of hope, joy and Light. Of course, life is never without its problems and the darkness which easily creeps up on us. Even Jesus said we would run into troubles here, but also that we can take heart because He has overcome the world.
So when live choosing to stay in the dark, in a way we are like Thomas who refused to believe unless he saw proof. Our lack of hope is revealed in our tendency to focus on the negative unless our situation changes or even how we refuse to forgive ourselves for past mistakes.
When we see our lives—the good and bad stuff alike—through a lens of Light, even problems can become meaningful too. When we make a conscious choice to live in the Light regardless of circumstance, this opens up the channel for us to constantly stay connected to the Source of Light, God himself.
In the picture above is the Black Cloud, or everything negative that keeps us from staying connected to the Source. Whether it’s fear, shame, and unforgiveness—when we dwell on these we lose sight of the truth about ourselves and this beautiful life. The sun never really leaves (just as His promises never fail) the darkness just has a way of making us forget about light.
When we open ourselves up to hope, we are able to push past all of that and connect again. Gratefulness is the tool here, and so is forgiveness. When we channel these, we roll away “that which imprisons us within ourselves.” Forgiveness is choosing love over shame. To forgive yourself is to create space to forgive others. Move through your day with a spirit of hope, and you’ll realize the promise of joy was never really was that far away.
Living then becomes an act of faith.
Seasons may change and weather gets gloomy, but the Light shines on all of us equally, lovingly, always.
Rainbow painting by me, layout by Youth Creatives