Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What it means to be a Jesus Youth

"They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one's need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the  temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with
exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who werebeing saved. (Acts 2 :42-47) "

If someone ask me the reasons, for which I was first attracted to Jesus Youth Movement, above is the answer.In this Jubilee time some questions came to my mind; and I felt it is good to give a thought.

Whenever I was asked What is Jesus Youth? I always liked to answer it like this; Jesus Youth is a person , who leads a Christ centered life, who nriches his relation with Jesus, day by day through Personal Prayer,
Sacraments, Mediation of Word of God and Joyful fellowships, who reflects Jesus in their thoughts, words and actions, to make other people experience love of God, who spreads the Kingdom of God, wherever they are - Who is ajoyful contradiction to the world (As Pope John Paul II challenges). Again,
Jesus Youth is a movement , where people with above said characteristics come together to grow and help others grow .

*My Questions:*

As a Person; how am I responding to my call, how is my relation with my Lord do I still have the first love, how much am I rooted in JY spirituality,do I still have the missionary zeal in me, am I spreading Love, Joy and Kingdom of God in my surroundings ..

As a Movement, how far we reached, how is our going, as we reach/spread tonew places/countries/continents, do we grow deeper in small prayer groups,which is the base of our movement, are we/our style still able to attract new generation to the Lord, are we equipped ourselves to cater their
spiritual needs - Our leaders around the globe are engaged now, evaluating the second part. I think I must do the first part for myself (It s I, who makes community).

- Anto, a Jesus Youth(I, still doubt to say it loudly!!!!!)

I was literally misled to my first retreat, as I was told like some youth camp . As I have already attended some camps, conducted by different organizations, I took it as a time to do have some fun and mean to spend one week of my vacation. I never knew it was a Jesus Youth retreat and it came to me like a shock when they gave the instruction on first day, we will keep complete silence during the retreat . And there were no other options;I had to attend it completely.

The first letter I received on my name, I remember was a 25 paise post card by Jesus Youth Subzone team, inviting me for a prayer meeting. I attended the same with some of my friends and was very much touched with warm welcome we received and the family bonding we felt over there. It became our habit
and an unavoidable event for us to participate in those monthly meetings. I still remember the love and care of all those leaders (we never called them leaders, but *Chettans* - big brother), and the relation they built and
maintained with our parents and families, which tied us with the movement.As we realized the love and care of God and as we grow in the JY spirituality, slowly we started attending prayer groups, initiated prayer groups, took responsibilities, became part of various training programs and projects,.

There I started my journey as a Jesus Youth. There were many ups and downs in that, but my Lords love remained constant. He continued working miracles in my life and gave me many opportunities to be a tool in his hands, with no consideration of my worth. I had never been constant in maintaining constants, but always I kept on track with the help of one or the other.

In my initial days, prayer groups and other gatherings helped me to realize and come closer to HIS love. They helped me to build the habit of Personal Prayer and Meditation of the Word of God. Many senior JY s gave personal attention and care to my spiritual and material life. (It s been a long time by now, that I stay away from my home for livelihood, but some of these leaders are still in touch with my parents, they constantly visit my home and had been playing my role in my absence).

As time went on, I lost the first love I had (Rev 2 : 4). I lagged in personal prayer and meditation of word of God. Many at times I was less serious, even about sacraments (a basic thing that every Christian would
do). As a result, I many times gave up to the enemy, who is lurking at the door (Gen 4 : 6). Still my God didnt let me go, but hold me closer to him. Because of his love and grace, I somehow managed till now, with one constant or the other. As a Jubilee resolution, I have decided and started to follow these three constants strictly. And I need all of you to pray for me to stay constant.

Prayer group/fellowship was something I always been strict to it, (I thinkmany of us are!). Initial days were beautiful, as they made a shell for me.I was with one or the other JY in almost all the time. I recall my college
JY prayer groups and zonal/subzone gatherings. Such a nurturing were thosefellowships, each moments were filled with new thoughts, experiences, andvigor. I already mentioned about the senior leaders who inducted me to JYfamily. It was this family bonding and fellowship helped me to rise again each time I fall, to come back each time I go astray.

Now at my place, people do consider me as a senior JY. Here I do compare the affection and care I received in my initial time and that I give to the new young people, whom my Lord has given to me. I, many at times skipped away from building and maintaining a personal relation with many of them
(and with their families, as my leaders did), that would have helped them to grow in the ministry. I do doubt, whether they experience the same family bonding and affection, like the early Christian communities (Acts 2 :42-47), in our gatherings! Many of them don t feel the warm welcome in my prayer groups. I did not value everyone as the same, regardless of their race, tongue, or tribe. I found it easy many at times to remain in my
comfort zones. I do written off some people, marking them like they are never going to be a JY. I forgot that I was once like them, ever worse than them (Eph 2). And the result, I was unable to communicate/convince many. I was alien to them, when I speak. The ministry did suffer much from it. My second Jubilee resolution is to open the doors of my heart to all, regardless of their race, color, tongue and tribe. I will try to be like
St. Paul, who was everything to everyone. I will make sure that my prayer groups do give the affection, bonding and care to all who comes there. I will be a friend to everyone, as my leaders were to me.

Most of my senior leaders were great role models. Many like me were pulled to the ministry, by just seeing them. Many those who skipped their meals and sleeps continuously for the ministry, those who left their jobs for the ministry, those who walked miles and miles for spreading this love and those simple initiatives that made big changes. Remember the sacrifices of the pioneers of our ministry. They never knew this was going to be such a big platform, still shed their sweat for the ministry. Their commitments, sacrifices, vision etc have made way for me to this ministry. But when I think, how many are dragged to the ministry, seeing my lifestyle,commitment, zeal - they are not even a handful. I wish this Jubilee year will help me to be more committed and zealous person and I too, would be able to bring more people in to his Love.

I wish the Jubilee year may be a wonderful time of revival to all of us in the ministry.
*Refined in thy Fire, Renewed in thy Spirit, Radiant in thy Holiness, Amen.*

With Love and Prayers,

Anto Simon K.

Jassowal, Ludhiana, Punjab

1 comment:

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