Beauty in the brokenness: Reflections from Team Fink

As part of Team Fink’s cultural tour of Colorado they took time for a prayer retreat. Below are their reflections on this day.

 

As I go cliff walking, I slipped on a rock, caught a hand, I look behind, nothing was there. Staying still doesn’t help me meditate. I followed the wind, I could hear ‘this way’ which lead me to the cliff. I look down and the beauty showed off what Gods’ touch of a finger did. If you’ve read my writing, raccoon and turtles are my spirit animals, which help me through life, and I found raccoon tracks. I followed them, and I lead me to a tree stuck to a tree, it was a cross.

The prayer retreat was something I enjoyed a lot. Seeing God working through different ways and different people was really cool. We were all serious about it and that rarely happens. We all connected with God and that was really cool. My connection was just sitting on the window sill and watching the trees dance in the wind. I did a head stand on the ground and it was really relaxing and it was almost like an upside down meditation where I was looking up to God.

When I prayed I could feel God’s holy wrath through the wind. I loved how the retreat was In the mountains and I had a great time bonding. A retreat is a place where you can get away from all distractions and be still through God. When I hear God in me it makes me frozen in His holiness.

This experience was amazing. I saw God mostly through my friends and community. In the beginning God spoke to me and said know that I am God and trust in the plan that I have for you and your family. I believe and know that The Father, Son and The Holy Spirit are always with me. We can experience God in many different ways, like through solitude, community, and nature. Gods love for us is so immense, that we cannot explain it with words or actions. The Lord tells us to just look out to nature, that is our gift from God.

The prayer retreat was unforgettable. I’ve always wanted to have a special moment with God. Today mine happen from beauty in brokenness.  I was crying at one point in the day because, I was thinking about all the sins I have sinned all the things I have done and faced. But after that I saw the good things. Yes I have fallen and fail to get up so many times I just think I am a mess. There is beauty in brokenness-don’t forget that. I have repeated that in my mind all day and don’t forget to pray praying is the most important thing to ever do.

The prayer retreat today was very special and so peaceful. I got to feel solitude, yet a balance with community and felt the presence of creation, the presence of God. I saw the strong winds, but also the tiny gentle moss that lay upon the rocks. Getting away from our daily routines and venturing out in the mountains created such a wonderful peace within me. A little solitude. It allowed me to forget about the distractions and gave me the chance to feel serenity, be still, and listen. I realized we don’t have to be afraid, only fear God. Even though at the end of our time couldn’t feel my hands or feet because they were frozen, getting out and being in solitude was totally worth it.

This experience open my eyes to the fact that we don’t have to be in a specific place for us to receive this connection with God. At first it was hard for me to get rid of the distractions but I ended up with the vision that I don’t know was from God or not. Imagined a bear coming close to me and I was terrified, but the bear didn’t hurt me it led me to God. I thought that maybe God provides us with fears so that they might lead us to him and draw us closer. I went into a room and open the window. The wind is roaring in my ears. I thought about how we feel that when God speaks to us we think it has to come in the thunder but it might be a whisper. When we talk we can’t hear the wind blow. Crowd, noise, hurry. We think that we need to go somewhere to experience God. God us everywhere so if we take the time to observe we can have a portable sanctuary. That’s why I appreciate when the Muslims will stop whatever they are doing for the day and pray to God. This feeling of connection and peace is something that I wish I could feel my whole life when I talk or pray to God. If we do it more often we can develop this feeling is our hearts.

This field trip was super powerful for me. I loved going outside and being in nature. I connect with God best there. I heard a voice in my head that kept repeating Put your trust in me and I will guide you in the path of the righteousness. I am still not sure if it is God or the voice inside my head. It means that even though I will go off Gods path for me he can still bring me on the right path. When I was walking back to the cabin there were two pair of foot prints. this brought me back to a picture in my room that says one pair of foot prints is yours and one is God’s. You will walk away from God but he can always bring you back. Overall this was an amazing experience to connect with God and to just be.

Whisper in the wind calls to me as I wonder what would’ve happened to my family if my dad died of cancer. I wonder if that a lot and if he was not in my life I would not be the person I am today. Reflecting off of yourself is important but reflecting off of others is not as easy. Solitude something that is hard for us because we are always connected to noise crowd and hurry. We need to sometimes just get away from that. First for me it was hard to switch to meditating after I went through the gorgeous house. I didn’t really want to meditate because I was so caught up in the house. Once I started to meditate it was easier for me to lose myself in silence. I really like this experience of listening to God. I thought it was cool that since we were reading Celebration of Discipline at school we got to have Solitude and get away from noise, crowd, and hurry.

Revelation ranch was a time of prosperity and connection with God. When we first got up to revelation ranch I was so interested in the house and how big it was. Trying to find all the nooks and crannies that I could. Yet I realized that after wasting 30 minutes of my time none of that matter. I thing a lot of materialistic things distract us from what really matters. It was very hard for me to focus on God, especially when I was in a room by myself. So I decided to go out and explore, right after that decision was made the wind started to pick up. God was talking to me. I had found God in nature and that was a beautiful thing. Later in the hour I met up with Joseph and Megan and we started to go climbing. Through that we were truly able to see God. From one mountain to the next, we saw beauty everywhere. The ranch was an incredible experience getting to truly understand God’s love. I hope we can come back soon, (not just because of the house) and get to experience God in ways we don’t even know yet.

If the purpose of life was to put a check in a box there would be no beauty in living. Horses have blinders to stop them from seeing what’s around them and keep them focused on only what’s in front of them. We wear blinders as well. These blinders are called noise, crowds, and hurry. What removes these blinders? Silence can. Solitude can. A river can. A mountain can. Moss on a rock can. God can. Connection is a funny word. We have to detach in order to become truly connected. Connected with something way greater than what consumes most of the day. Something that speaks in the wind. Something that speaks in the snow, between trees, and all around us. Learn to listen.

Reflections from a cultural pilgrimage through Denver

Posted by |Tenkely|

Recently the 8th grade students at Anastasis Academy embarked on a cultural journey around Denver.  Below are pictures of the travels and reflections from the students.

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Hindu Temple

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Baha’i center

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Mosque

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Buddhist Temple

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Christian Church

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Jewish Temple

I’m so impressed with the journey of understanding these kids have embarked upon.  Their faith has been stretched, and therefore has grown.  Please take the time to read their responses below.  There is wisdom within, and I’m incredibly proud of all of them.

 

-Mr. Fink

“Beyond”

Look deeper. God works through all areas. Who are we to say what he is and isn’t. We cannot put God in a box. Going from temple to mosque, to church, etc. made me realize God is everywhere. Maybe he isn’t the god the religions worships, but he is still working wonders, weaving himself through other religions. “I am an instrument for Gods will,” said a Hindu Monk. God has the power to do anything. Instead of picking out wrong in other religions, leave the wonder-working to God. In John 13:35 it says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love everyone. Even if the Iman or Reverend say concepts you don’t believe, or the Hindu’s have divas you don’t consider a part of your faith, love the people. As a proud Christian, I am confident in my faith so venturing into other faiths only makes mine stronger.

~Caroline F

“Hidden God”

God is complex beyond measure and can be interpreted in many ways. If you traveled around the world and looked up at the sun, it would be the same sun that can be seen anywhere. The sun can be shown by heat, light and can be seen by reflections everywhere. This is like God. He may be called Allah, Yah, Dios, etc., but it is the same God. Everyone is unique and can see God in a different way through friends, strangers, birds, grass, television, or whatever speaks to them. Pastor Andrew said, “God will burn you, all the way down to grace.” Our class has been learning about Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Baha’i. Before this, when I saw a Muslim or a Hindu, my mind went straight to the stereotypes and I thought they must be crazy and foreign. As I learn and had the opportunity to have a conversation with these people, I realized they truly aren’t that different from me. Sure I may act out my belief in God differently, but does that make either crazy? Now, my Christianity is much stronger. In Islam, I saw kindness and dedication. Buddhism taught me to find peace in mind to help me connect with God. Hinduism taught me that my soul is more important then material and how I look. In Baha’i, I learned how important equality is between all. One of the most important things I learned was to not listen to the stereotypes, like the Buddhist minister said, “Religion is a beautiful thing until people get involved”.

-Riley L

“Disciples of God”

My take away from our religious pilgrimages’ made me think hard. I start to wonder what different religions are like, but in the end of all the wondering, I realized how lucky I am to be a Christian. I’m not saying that the other religions such as Hinduism, Bah’i, Buddhism, etc. are bad religions. What I am saying is that I’m going to stick to what I believe in and I’m proud to be a Christian. Yet in the end, aren’t we all disciples of God? “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13: 34- 35) Why is it that we all get so caught up in the title and look at the differences? The Hindu teacher Tushta  said: “Honor the experience and don’t get trapped by the label. ” We all want to be right, but as long as we love one another we all are right.

-Lexi A

“Missions on God”

If others love you, we should love back. The Bible says, ” A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Sadly there is a force in this world called hate which blocks off our love towards certain people. Hatred is our choice though. Now you might be asking,”How can anyone be called a disciple?” My answer is, I don’t know. As long as satan is a power on earth, hate and temptation exist. This means technically no one can possibly be a disciple literally. How about emotionally? In the heart, we are all disciples. In some way or another we all show some form of caring which is a prayer in itself to God screaming, “I care! I can love.” Which I believe in God’s eyes is a form of a disciple. What I took away from our two religious journeys is anyone can follow God, anyone can be a disciple, and everyone is made in God’s image and is his child. A Hindu monk asked that there are many words for sun, but is it the same sun? Yes. Then he asked that if that is true then, is it the same God? Yes. So my question for you is, do you think it is the same god?

-Claire R

“Religion is Not Understanding, It’s the Mystery”

This year we’ve been talking a lot about the religions of the world. Some of these that we have studied so far are Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Baha’i, and of course, Christianity. We have gone on the most amazing journey in our faith through studying these religions. We had an extremely profound conversation on what we had learned so far earlier today. One of the things that stood out the most to me was, as the Buddhist reverend said, “Religion is a beautiful thing until people get involved.” I completely agree with this because we, as humans, are not perfect, and we tend to corrupt just about everything we do, whether we realize it or not. Amazingly, many of the religious leaders agreed that we all worship the same God. Studying this in a Christian school is controversial to many people, but it has brought me so much closer to God. After all, who are we to try to stuff God in a box. The mystery of God is what keeps you wondering and striving to get closer to him.

-Emma P

“A Greater Understanding”

Over the past couple weeks, we have been learning about other religions to have a greater understanding. We learned about Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Bahai. We wanted to see how similar all of these religions were. There is a great Bible verse in John 13:  34-35 says, ” you are my disciples if you love one another.” This is saying that even if we have different beliefs, we can still love one another if we have a greater understanding of these religions. I now know these religions have many similarities as well as differences, but I now have a greater respect for the six religions. At the core these six religions believe in the same things. For example the belief in one God. Just learning that these six religions all have the same belief in one God really helped me come to peace about going and learning in-depth. I now truly have a greater understanding and respect for these 5 new religions.

I am creative.

I am innovative.

I am Anastasis.

<><><>Abbey K. W<><><>

“Love all”

My takeaway from the pilgrimage can be summarized in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” This message goes to every religion out there, if you love one another you are showing the love of God. It doesn’t matter if your religion is strict, laid back, or a mixture of both, if you follow this one rule I believe your set by God for the rest or your life. The Bahá’í faith wants to mix Christianity and other religions in with theirs. Now no one is comfortable with the fact that different religions mixing together, but Bahá’í is willing. Going back to loving one another, it doesn’t matter if you mix religions, but if you really want to be a follower, just love someone for who they are, not for how they dress or what they look like. What I really love about the three monotheistic religions is that even though each religion has a different name for God, they all believe that there is only one God. Just like the pastor said, “Gods gospel is everywhere all the time.” Gospel means good news, so God and everyone else can send good news with any actions that you do. If its loving one another, to praying for someone. Anything can be possible with the love of God.

Live💃

Laugh😆

Love❤

-Micah D

“The lessons of religion”

My takeaway from all of the religions we have been studying is that no matter what religion you are in there is still one God. It’s hard to wrap your mind around on all these different religions, but in the end we can find common ground with one another. The other day we went to a Buddhist temple, Hindu temple, and Bahai temple, each religion taught me something new about life and about their religion. I learned from the Buddhist teacher that not all Buddhist sects meditate and that not all Buddhist believe in the same thing. I asked the lady a question on who she thinks Jesus Christ is and right off the bat she said an excellent teacher, a messenger from God, she even said the son of God. I was so intrigued by the way she described who Jesus was cause not all religions can do that. I also learned that satan isn’t an actually person, that “We all have a different satan inside of us and that it’s just our fears causing the temptations” from the Bahai teacher. The Hindu priest said that “No matter how many names that we call the sun, it’s still the same sun”. He was referring to that no matter how many names God has he is still God. Through my learning of all the different religions I have grown closer to God and as they always say it’s better to have more questions than more answers.

Philippians 4:13

Maddie H 🙂