I am spending the day today at the Vashon Sheepdog Classic. This June event features top dogs and top handlers from across the Pacific Northwest and even beyond. It is happening all weekend for those of you who are interested. But today, Thursday, the young dogs are running. The “nursery” class features dogs under three years old. They are just beginning. The novice handlers are also out there on the field. These are folks who are new to the sport.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday the experienced dogs and expert handlers will do some beautiful work with sheep out here on Misty Isle Farm. The crowds will be big and the tension will be high. People will recognize the names of special dogs or top handlers, and pay careful attention to their runs.
But today, there are only a handful of spectators. The young dogs may or may not get their sheep. The new handlers will learn their lessons in front of us all.
We all know what to expect from the older dogs and the more experienced handlers. But when the young ones are up, anything can happen.
I enjoy watching the youngsters figure things out. I am delighted when a particular young dog, or any new handler, surprises us all with some spectacular work
I love the Thursday runs.
Which makes me also think of last Sunday at my church in Seattle. It was “Youth Sunday,“ when the young people of our congregation are in charge of the worship service.
Most Sundays when you come to church, just about any church, you can be pretty sure what will happen. There will be an order of worship with which you are familiar. There will be a preacher who has preached a lot of sermons, and on that Sunday will be preaching one more. If the preacher is well known, you might pay special attention.
But when one wanders into any church on a Youth Sunday, one does not know what to expect. Anything can happen. Last June I was in Scotland and ended up at a Youth Sunday service there. Chocolate was served. I was happy.
I was out of town last Sunday and missed Youth Sunday at our church. But I heard the reports. Our church was full. The service was long and full of joy. Babies were baptized. Six young people preached powerful sermons, urging the community to pay attention, to get real, to live out their faith. The music was wonderful. And the congregation left inspired. They knew they had experienced something powerful. I have heard from them all week, asking how to get more involved in ending gun violence, in addressing climate change, and in working for racial justice.
I love Youth Sunday. Thank you, UCUCC Youth. You were spectacular.