One of my roles this week is to be Prayer Space Coordinator. Knowing that campers will be at different stages of discovering and working out what their spiritual beliefs are, I want to make sure I create a space where everyone felt comfortable to meditate and be inspired. I’ve had the honour of helping set up the very first 24-7 prayer rooms in my old church in Aberdeen, the University of Aberdeen and at my current church when it was in its original building. In your typical 24-7 prayer room you’ll often find books, bibles, a lot of bare walls covered in white paper, relaxing lighting and lots of nooks and crannies with cushions.
Along with the usual books of devotions and liturgy, I decided to make a couple of purchases that weren’t outwardly faith based.
One is Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome. Brad Montague and his younger brother-in-law have been sharing a message of hope, building communities and doing things to make the world a better place through their creative videos that have been championed by Soul Pancake. The Kid President is a great example of how you don’t have to be a grown up to make a difference, and the book has interviews and stories which inspire people to do good things where they are.
The other book is Rainn Wilson’s Chew on Life’s Big Questions book. Although Rainn is a follower of the Ba’hai faith, this book I think is appropriate for people of all or no faiths. The book creatively gets you thinking about deeper questions about life, the universe, spirituality, faith, prayer, philosophy, humanity…and I hope can be a bit of a conversation starter. It also prompts people to think about how they interact with the world and God. I know my friend who is a vicar has found it a really useful read, so I hope it helps gets the brains of our campers and leaders percolating some deeper thoughts to filter.
The other book with a Soul Pancake connection I’m taking along is Fly A Little Higher by Laura Sobiech. The story of how God answered her prayer (and showed her how to pray) while she helped her son, Zach battle osteosarcoma, and supported him while he learned how to live while dying is a story that is inspirational and told with such eloquence, honesty and grace. I know people of all ages and beliefs who were inspired by the My Last Days documentary that focused on Zach and his friends and family. While I was in Germany last year, my roommates and I had Zach’s song, Clouds as the tune on the alarm that woke us each morning in the Kolpinghaus. I think both of them have since downloaded it themselves too and every now and again they message me about it on facebook. If you haven’t read Laura’s book, I really recommend that you do some time soon.
As for what book I’m taking along just in case there are some quiet moments to capture a bit of reading…To Kill A Mockingbird is coming in my backpack. I figured that since it’s the 55th anniversary of it’s publishing I should really read it. (It was one of the casualties of English class in high school – I didn’t trust recommendations by English teachers after a year or two!)