When we first did Love Tanks at Young Life I thought it would be the only time. But the kids who came kept asking when we would get to do it again. The ones who missed really wanted the opportunity to do it too. Because of their enthusiasm, Love Tanks have become a staple here and an end of the semester tradition.
I was especially excited to see all of my girls tonight--the freshmen crowd, a whole mix of sophomores and a great representation of the upperclassman. I love these kids.
I love watching the connections that form between leaders and kids in this space. Newer leaders like Jackie, Abby, Connor and Lisa who are all diving in and showing up week after week. Sean, who has been gone for week, was able to come tonight and the kids were thrilled. We love all of these leaders.
It's crazy that we only have about a month left of Young Life this school year. Only a month left of gathering in this gym (especially because we'll probably be in a new location next year). Only a month more of meeting all in one place like this to worship and grow together. It has been such a tremendous year.
I love that it has become a regular thing to have Nick, Ryan and Carter play guitar together to start things off. It's so cool how the kids know these songs after weeks of attending, they can sing along without even looking at the song books for some of them. We sing because we believe the words that we're saying and what they tell us about God and his love.
Ryan talked about the woman caught in adultery and the crowd that was ready to stone her. Jesus told the crowd that whomever was without sin could throw the first stone. One by one they dropped their rocks and walked away. That situation has grace, mercy and justice all over the place and the kids pointed it out.
In these love tanks notes of encouragement, we get to show grace to one another. We get to make our words matter. I asked the kids to raise their hands if they had ever done Love Tanks with us before and about 75% of the room stuck up a hand. Then I asked if they had held onto those notes and still knew they were. Every one of those hands went straight back up. What we say to one another sticks.
Many of the kids shouted out that their notes are taped to their wall or that they go back and read them when they are feeling kind of sad or alone. I love that these words can stretch past tonight, that weeks and months from tonight that they can continue to have an impact. Maybe we know just what one of our best friends needs to hear. Maybe we can take the opportunity to point out a quality we love about someone we're just getting to know.
With just a few minutes left, we all delivered our notes into the love tank bags. Our hands were cramped but it was well worth it. Everyone couldn't wait to get home and read the papers stuffed inside their bag. Shauna Niequist says, "Friendship is acting out God's love for people in tangible ways," and tonight we got to live that out.