Youth Sabbath Retreats

This weekend we are taking our middle schoolers on a Sabbath retreat. Next weekend we're taking our high schoolers on retreat. We'll spend these two weekends at Johnsonburg Camp and Retreat Center, delving into what it means to practice Sabbath. Our last Sabbath Retreat happened in February 2020, and I am so excited to return to this invaluable practice. 

Our teenagers are ridiculously busy. Between extracurriculars, school work, volunteering, learning to drive, and family obligations, I look at the schedules of our youth and honestly want to take a nap. After the exhaustion of two years with off and on quarantining, many activities are returning with a vengeance! Particularly with the mask-optional CDC guidance, it feels like we're all trying to squeeze in two years of activities into two months.

As such, for these coming weekends, we'll be delving into Psalm 46, the psalm with that famous verse: "Be still and know that I am God." The goal for our time together is to figure out what being still looks like for each student. It might be sitting in silent meditation or coloring a mandala in silence for some. For others, it might be running or playing a physical game where they are drawn out of their day-to-day life and into the present moment, aware of their bodies. And for others it might be playing an instrument or singing. 

So often I think we forget what it means to be human – to be human beings rather than (as I'm sure you've heard) human doings. The goal for our weekend together is to help our youth understand the vital importance of the Sabbath, no matter what day or time it happens. We hope they learn what being still looks like for them, how they can turn off their brains, simply exist with God, and remember that they are known, loved, and entirely accepted.

With the return to truly hectic schedules, perhaps it's more important than ever that our youth are reminded of the importance of the Sabbath.