Unity

By Carol Beckett, Youth Sunday

“The love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Good morning, and happy mother’s day!

As many of you may or may not know, I am a dancer. This past weekend I went to Orlando with my team for our last competition. There is this amazing jazz team
that’s always there called Dancer’s Edge. A studio in Missouri that is perfect. You don’t need to know anything about dance to see their talent. When you watch them, you notice that no one dancer stands out. Yes, some of them may have solos, but then they melt seamlessly back into the group. A group who dances as one. They dance together, move together, even breathe together. They are the epitome of unity. It’s beautiful to experience. They dance together with such raw emotion and unity that it projects out off of the stage and engulfs us, the audience, into that moment with them. It leaves you with goosebumps and an aching feeling.

This movement as one is hard to do. You need to be able to leave everything behind, any emotional baggage or problems should be checked at the door. When you dance these contemporary or lyrical pieces, you have to become one with your teammates and music, leaving everything behind for them.

Unity.

This is what Jesus prayed for for us in today’s gospel. He prayed for us saying: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in
me through their word, that they may all be one.” I’ve grown up here in St. Timothy’s. From being a crayon here at preschool, to standing in front of you today in my last weeks as a senior in high school. Words aren’t enough to convey to you the community and unity I’ve experienced here, but I’m going to give it a shot anyways.
I remember being a part of the Jubilate choir, before Mr. Peter was here, when we were with Ms. Susan. We used to all grab our stools and sit out in the Narthex in a
circle and sing out songs about Abraham and God. We could have been anywhere, but in that moment, the only thing that mattered, was that we were all singing and
having a good time.

We were so close, I remember that one day when both Ms. Susan and Mr. Peter were here, I came in with a loose tooth, and Ms. Susan actually yanked it out for
me. It was a win win for everyone; the tooth fairy would be visiting me and I would get one of those neat dollar coins and Mr. Peter wouldn’t have to deal with
me wiggling my loose tooth throughout all rehearsal, which he said “freaked him out”.

The friendships that have been forged here are forever. For the past three years I’ve gone of the Dungannon mission trip with some of my best friends. Working in
Scott County Virginia with another community is fantastic. And at the end of the week when we all just sit around the bonfire and sing songs, it really feels like another family, together as one.

One of my favorite times here was definitely always the 30 hour famine. I mean, what’s greater than not eating for 30 hours with some of your closest friends? We
do team building activities, like building our cardboard houses, and making really elaborate decorations on them, including a very nice crayola marker replication of
the Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting “The Creation of Adam”. Then the next morning we would all go to Alexandria to participate in the ALIVE program
to be part of an even larger community giving back to those in need. Afterwards we come back to the church for some friendly competition in the form of the tribe
games. Sometimes it gets a little heated, but what’s a family without disagreements? Being one and being a true unified community doesn’t mean constant peace, but moving on from the disagreements stronger together and closer than ever.

But, of all the moments that I’ve really felt this sense of unity with my church family, the ones that will stay with me forever are the memories from study breaks
at the Chadwick’s, end of the year parties hosted by Mrs. Christine for the seniors, and the pancake suppers where we all come together to revel in the wonders that
come in the form of pancakes, ham and french toast sticks. Surrounded by friends and joy, how could we not feel like a true community and family?

Everyone here has help shaped me into the person I am today; Father Brad, Reverend Leslie, my wonderful friends and mentors, including Ms. Christine and
Father Mark. The community that we’ve created here together is something that I’m going to miss so much next year. It just goes to show, I mean, every Sunday
we ask those who are new or visiting our church to consider this “their church home and us their church family” which is what we are.

Apparently there’s a saying that you can never go home, but upon reflection, I don’t think it’s very true. When you have something as wonderful as everything I
have experienced here, you can always go home, because in my mind there’s nothing more true than, “home is where the heart is”. None of us will ever truly
leave because we are one together, and not only in the father and the son, but in each other. This is what Jesus prayed for us to have, and what we experience every
day of our lives through each community and family we have made and found in our daily lives.

So thank you, for being one with me and with Christ. Amen