Tales from the 4th Floor
Brittany Stillwell

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Acts 2:42

For many, the 4th Floor at 2BC can elicit feelings of both awe and intimidation. It is notoriously loud and chaotic and full of scary competitions like dork ball and laser tag, but it is also the space where some of the coolest people at 2BC go to hang out. Many aspire to climb to the highest floor at 2BC, though many will never make it. Some even say the oxygen gets thinner up there—making you more energetic and instantly more tech savvy. Eventually, however, the rock stars that roam the hallowed halls of the 4th Floor descend, mingling their star power with the rest of us, and once a year, these revered youth all come together to lead us in worship. 

Since not many of you get to spend a lot of time upstairs, let me give you a glimpse of life on the 4th Floor:

On Wednesday nights, after a hearty meal and a healthy dose of giggles and squirms in the Fellowship Hall, we climb to the top floor for worship, bible study and worship arts groups. We started 2020 with Youth Sunday already in mind. Our theme would be community and we began exploring Acts 2:42-47 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 to see what the earliest Christians could teach us about what community looks like. We learned that the first church did four main things as a community—they learned together, hung out together, ate together, and prayed together. Sounded pretty familiar to us. 

We talked about the difficulties that might arise in a community that is rapidly growing and wondered if they ever had disagreements. (Turns out, they definitely did!) And we explored the image of the church as a body—one with very unique and different parts, but all vital to the operation of the whole. We considered our own unique characteristics and how they fit together in our youth group and in the church. We even learned about the plague and how when the population was in rapid decline, Christianity continued to grow and wondered together why this type of community might be so compelling during a time of immense pain and struggle.

And then we started dreaming; discerning what we thought our 2BC family needed to hear and considering how best to share, imagining what images and songs and words the Spirit might use to celebrate our differences and draw us closer as the body of Christ. No idea was off limits, no suggestion too outrageous, no proposal too big or small. And y’all… it was a sight to behold! I wish you all could have been on the 4th floor as tongues of fire settled on their heads and creativity burned. Their brilliance, their attentiveness to the Spirit, and their love for all of you swirled around the room and fashioned a beautiful plan for Youth Sunday.

I was on the 4th Floor last week. It should be a flurry of activity and noise as we put together our final preparations for Youth Sunday. It should be even messier than it is now, with props on the floor and Legos in every corner and instruments and cords twisted together. Instead, it is quiet, still, and a mess (always a mess…) but empty; too still, too quiet, too empty.

Our preparation has moved to screens; zoom calls and videos and six youth standing more than six feet apart, singing in an empty sanctuary. And I am definitely grieving. I wish you could hear them in person. I am sad that we have had to cut a few things from the original plan: communion and communal Lego building being one of them. And I absolutely hate that we won’t be experiencing this together; for you to sense their passion in the room, to hear their hard work first hand, to feel their enthusiasm and excitement. And for them to sense your love in the room, to hear your compliments and feel your embraces and pride.  It is a loss worth grieving for sure.

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But… I am also so incredibly excited. Our youth consistently rise to the occasion and they have done it again. Their preparation at the beginning of the year, and their flexibility and creativity, made moving Youth Sunday to video an easy and exciting challenge. They have adapted and even showcased skills I didn’t know they had. 

And what a message of hope and love and unity they have for you on Sunday! We laughed when we remembered studying the plague, even as we adjusted our plan because of a pandemic, and marveled at the line in our previously chosen closing hymn, “and we’ll pray that our unity will one day be restored.” The 4th Floor may be empty, but that didn’t stop the Spirit. The fire simply divided and traveled to rest on their heads where they are. And I am confident that the same blazing Spirit will make its way into your homes as you watch and worship with us on Sunday (www.2bclr.com/worship-at-home). 

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. 
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

May it be so. 

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