The first night of Pilgrimage can be described best as a reunion. After months of planning, days of preparation, and hours of traveling, our United Methodist family arrives at Crown Coliseum. The night is filled with long hugs from your conference family. Whether you have been apart for a few months or even a year, it feels as if you have not missed a beat.
You cannot help but smile. Everywhere you look there are smiles. There are smiles on the faces of the District Superintendent’s and Assistants to the District Superintendent’s faces as they welcome youth into the Coliseum. There are smiles on the faces of youth who are attending Pilgrimage for the first time who cannot help but look around the arena for the first time in awe. There are smiles of the House Band as they take their first steps on to the Pilgrimage stage. There are smiles on the faces of youth pastors and pastors as they witness their students pouring out their hearts in praise and worship.
The energy that radiates from the first night of Pilgrimage is unmatched by any other conference event. As soon as the doors open, the event comes alive. The concourse is filled with conversation about different camps, programs, and organizations our United Methodist youth are involved in. The arena floor is buzzing with upbeat music and dancing.
I got the chance to view the floor from the third level of the arena this year, and though each body moved separately, they also seemed to move in unison. As soon as the lights go down, all of this vibrant and youthful energy is channeled solely into worship. It is the kind of worship that is so loud that you cannot even hear yourself sing.
Honestly, it is what I imagine heaven will be like someday. People come from all over and from all different walks of life, but we are all here to praise and worship the same loving Jesus. That is all that matters.
*Article written by Morgan Hackett