Kairos 2008 - Parakletos
Deeper conversion in the life of the Spirit
By Claire Robinson
The Kairos Weekend (formerly Le Weekend), an annual retreat for 17-25 year olds in Europe and the Middle East, took place this year in Szczyrk, a beautiful mountainous town that claims fame for skiing in Poland.
It’s hard work having a conference in a hotel with huge windows overlooking the slopes and the sunlit, coloured roofs of the houses below – but we managed!
The Kairos weekend has at its core, deeper conversion. The international environment is often a key to unlocking a wider vision for the kingdom of God, furthering international identity founded in Christ.
With 170 people attending the conference it was the biggest yet for this region, confronting for the first time the problem of having too many people wanting to come than the facility could provide.
Of significance were the large numbers of people – some 40% - who have not grown up in a Sword of the Spirit community, and the other groups who joined us from Poland for the weekend. Both these indicate a season of growth and outreach.
Along with the Sword of the Spirit communities, three other Polish groups joined the conference enriching the experience and worship of the weekend.
The welcome the Sword of the Spirit community in Poland, Maisto na Gorze (City on a Hill), extended to these groups as well as their international guests is a testament to their gifts in evangelism and community building. With over 10 countries in Europe, the Middle East and beyond represented – including for the first time, Russia - diversity of language and culture was reflected in every aspect of the conference.
Translation equipment was given to each participant, and the conference was led and the talks given, sometimes in Polish, sometimes in English. A tireless team of translators created a low buzz at the back of the hall as they relayed the content of sessions to the non-native speakers, an experience that takes adjustment for most people attending the conference for the first time. A young Polish woman stated, ‘I have never been to a retreat with people of other languages; it surprised me to first hear people talking at the back of the hall and then I realised they were the translators. Now that I’m used to it I no longer notice it, but more than that it’s exciting to be here with people from places I would never have been connected with and to know them as brothers and sisters.’
This young, international environment is allowing deep foundations to form and common vision to grow. At the Kairos Weekend, both people in the Sword of the Spirit and others who had joined us for the event were able to express support to each other in living for the Lord. At recent HAT (Harambee Action Team) meetings, Suzanne Kelly from Glasgow shared about the need to be rooted in Christ and community. “Being committed, not only to people in our locality but also in other places, doesn’t weaken our foundations but rather it strengthens them, it builds a network of roots that makes us more secure.”
I clearly saw this happening at this retreat with people dreaming dreams together and relating in ways that would not normally be possible, given the water and land that divide us. A passing on of the vision of this international aspect of our life is happening!
Excitement is rising and expectations forming as we meet as a staff team in a room off a noisy corridor. Raucous crowds and drums on the other side of the wall echo through. As the last preparations for the prayer event take place it is clear that God moves among us. A little glimpse of heaven as we become one before the Lord.
Over the course of the weekend teaching was given on the power of the Holy Spirit and receiving the Spirit.
On Friday evening, Sam Geleyn, staffer from Belgium, explained how one of the Lord’s most frequent promises in Scripture, ‘I will be with you,’ is fulfilled in the sending of the Spirit. We are living in the age of the Spirit, and the presentations of the theme of the weekend further opened up where we can see him at work in our midst.
The key call was to be open to more of the Spirit’s work in our lives, to free ourselves before God. Martin Steinbereithner, using the example of Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well (in John’s Gospel), urged us to do this – to bring our attachments, distractions and sin to the Lord Jesus.
This calling of the Spirit moves us to live more fully in the gifts of the Spirit and also calls us into action. We revisited a word that was given to us at Die Konferenz, the Harambee conference of 2005, held near Munich.
The word was about a river, symbolic of the life of God amongst us, and young people who were standing on the banks watching and looking in as it passed them by.
Paul Jordan declared that ‘the Lord is calling us into a season of raising the water level.’ A time when the river overflows its banks and draws in people who are on the edge.
We are moving into a time of mission
and community building, and this weekend was a preview to how our Harambee
summer programme will develop through Summer Mission Households and Bible
Week – mission and discipleship.
Vision is being passed on for community
living, for Sword of the Spirit, to live lives for God and to see the Holy
Spirit move in greater ways than this generation has yet seen.
The weekend also marked the public stepping down by Jamie Treadwell from office as Director of Kairos handing on the baton to Paul Jordan. It was both a time of welcome to Paul and prayerful commemoration of Jamie’s contribution to us as young people in the region, and for what Jamie has achieved and established among us.
As Jamie said a few words, he mentioned
the prophetic sense a young woman had at an early Kairos event, ‘The dreams
of God are alive in this room.’ Always a visionary, Jamie pointed towards
something bigger and grander than himself in that moment of being praised.
And he was right, the dreams of God were in that room. And as I write many
of them are being realised.
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