Thursday, 5 January 2017

The Euston Retreat : Greater Things

By Paddie Denton

'You will see greater things than these!' 

John 1:50

2016, it’s over, and united in prayer and expectation we gathered in the centre of London to spend the end of the year together. Just four days after Christmas, the Youth 2000 team were setting up for the New Year retreat at Maria Fidelis Catholic Primary School, Euston. 

We gathered to explore our theme for the weekend, the 'Greater Things' in our lives, relationships, prayer and the one who saves. All of us who walked through those school doors and into the retreat will have had different ideas of what Greater Things we were expecting to encounter, in the fellowship, the praise, the Mass, the Healing, in God. But if everyone else had a retreat like me, what they received was the unexpected.

2016 was not the easiest of years for me. At different points I experienced heartbreak and loss. Over the year I lost my job, and then my home, and then my car was written off. And loved ones passed away. It wasn’t all bad though, and I received many blessings, especially from the struggles I had been through, but all this meant that I turned up to the retreat feeling a bit beaten from the experience of my year, and personally not feeling very expectant.

So, the retreat got underway, and Rebekah Curran from Westminster Youth opened up our retreat explaining how her putting more trust in what God could do in her life opened her up to receive even Greater Things. Putting more trust in God became quite a running theme. Our last speaker Brother Joshua Kidd summed it up as ‘none of me, all of him’.

This inspiration affected my prayer and the experience of my retreat in a big way, so that by the time I entered the healing service on New Year’s night, my prayer was simple: 'Not my will, but yours'.

No more holding on, through my stubbornness and pride, or through the pain and defeat of the year just gone. My heart moved to accepting that every moment of my life is a part of something that is much greater than me, and that every moment could be greater if I was seeking to live out God’s will in it.

You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs. Well it turns out you can’t make a saint without breaking apart the sinner. And then the challenge becomes can I actually live out this new found knowledge when I return to the world? Can I be a Greater Thing than who I was when I arrived at this retreat? Of course we can only do this through faith and as John Withers stated in his talk on healing, it should be very easy. We only need to claim the victory over death and darkness that Christ has already won, we don’t need to win it for ourselves.

As always, it was not just in the talks and prayer that the greatness of God’s love was experienced, but also in the times of fellowship with all the retreatants. In the partying and the DMCs (Deep Meaningful Conversations). I felt like we were on such a shared journey together, a journey toward hope. Hope in a new year, hope in a fresh start, hope in the fact that no matter how bad or how amazing things have been this year, far greater things are always around the corner. So stop holding onto the pain and move on, seeking the Greater Things.

From all of us at Youth 2000, have a blessed New Year, and please do spare a prayer for our 2017. God bless.


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