By: Seth Lovell

Looking AheadGod of all creation,
Your presence is known and felt in every corner of the globe. As we answered the call to serve as your hands and feet in the world we found that we did not need to take action for you to go with us; you have gone before, and you will remain in this place after we leave and will accompany us home. We stand in awe of how you are at work in the world, and stand in amazement that we are called to join you in this work of building up the Kingdom.

We give you thanks for the experiences we have had this week; the laughter shared, the sweat shed, the work done, and the joy spread, shared, and received. This week has inspired us, challenged us, broadened our horizons, and reminded us of what it means to be a disciple. This week has been a “mountain top” experience that we pray will continue to shape us and encourage us as we strive to be a witness for you. While we wish we could stay on the “mountain top,” the reality is we must come down.

This place, which will forever be special to us, was never meant to be our permanent mission field. God called us and led us to this place to be immersed in the practice of doing mission, to learn how to be salt of the earth and light of the world, and to deepen and grow in our understanding of what it means to serve others. Our challenge now is to take these lessons learned; and carry them home with us. We are called to recognize that “mission” is a word that stands alone, and one that doesn’t need “trip” attached to it. We are called to engage in mission wherever we are.

God of endings, and God of new beginnings, we give you thanks and praise for this week, and pray now that you give us the courage to take these lessons learned, and put them into practice in our daily lives. Help us to be instruments of your peace, working to spread your love and grace in our actions and interactions. Help us to be attentive to the needs in our own community, and to the ways in which we can do mission in our own backyards.

As we leave here, we ask continued prayers over this place that has been home for the past week, and all those with whom we were blessed to meet and spend time. Lord, as we leave, we pray that the experiences we have had be not only great stories to share, but experiences that remain with us always. May the photographs we take home be not only mementos of our time, but reminders of our calling to serve you. As we pull back into the church parking lot, may it mark not an ending, but a new beginning.

Above all Lord, we pray that as we look to the future, we will continue to look to you for guidance, to be a blessing to those around us, and that we will continue to look for ways to be engaged in “mission,” each and every day.

AMEN.

Seth Lovell is a recent graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary, and has been serving Olivet Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia for the past six years as their Director of Youth Ministries. Seth spends the summers traveling with his youth to Massanetta, Montreat, and on various mission trips. You can reach Seth at [email protected].