Last year I made almost two hundred teenagers and adults participate in a retreat in a graveyard. Well, not exactly, I guess. We constructed a graveyard set and decided that it was the most appropriate way to express our worship of God over the course of the weekend.
Two teenagers came in to the church and worked for me everyday, receiving school credit for their time and effort. As we talked about the retreat an idea was born to have our retreat setting look like a graveyard. We began painting backdrops of creepy trees and birds. We took Halloween gravestones and began writing words like ‘lust’, ‘anger’, ‘cutting’, and ‘pride’ on them.
And finally we found our masterpiece idea; we looked online, found a “quick coffin” blue print and built a coffin by hand.
Now I promise you this darkness didn’t last for long. You see, our idea was to create a physical representation of our theme verse:
So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (CEB)
We created an atmosphere of the old things. We wanted individuals throughout the weekend to realize that there were parts of their lives that had to fade away; things that needed to die. On Saturday night we opened the coffin and allowed them to put into the coffin all of the things in their lives that they had to let go of; the things that truly had to die.
And then darkness came. We blacked out the entire room. While our youth praise band began the opening chords of Hillsong United’s With Everything, our adult chaperones changed the set. We removed the graveyard and set up our second set; the throne room of God. Bright colors and rainbows replaced the bleakness of the grave yard. The coffin was stood upright and was transformed into the throne of God. The band changed from shirts of grays and blacks to brightly colored shirts that were hidden beneath.
As the song built to the “whoas” the lights were turned on and the congregation saw the old pass away and something new come in its place. Youth ran from their seats to the foot of the throne and poured themselves out to God. They let parts of them die, and they worshipped at the throne of God, thankful for the new that had come.
What needs to die in your life? What is that is hindering you from true worship at the throne of God? What are you most looking forward to when the new comes in your life?