Eight years ago, a fresh-faced single young man headed off to Word Alive in its final Skegness installment.
He came back head over heels in love with a lovely young lady and they got married three years later.
Well, not quite, but as we are heading back to the Word Alive conference (in its home in North Wales) on Thursday, I was really excited to reflect on how Jess and I got together back then in 2007 and also on how special a week Word Alive is.
Technically, it’s not our very first return. Two years ago, we attended the same Butlins site in Skegness but to Spring Harvest, not Word Alive. That was really odd – walking on the beach again, trying to exorcise football tournament demons (!), going into the Big Top, trying to cope with the unreliable chalet TV…!
One of my first memories of Word Alive is being accused by my now wife of having April Fooled her friend Kristin’s car when they arrived on the site. Apparently I was chief suspect due to my “banterous” nature. I was shocked. Of course it wasn’t me – it turned out that it was actually my wife’s brother who was responsible! Typical.
We went to the Bible Overview Student Tract headed up by Maurice McCracken. It was great although he’d managed to theme all his sessions on High School Musical songs such as “The Start of Something New” and “Breaking Free.” My wife was loving it while I was completely clueless to it. Just one of many things which had to change when we got together…and yes now I know all about this particular series of films too. Poor Sophie!
A previous Facebook status has relived the horrors of our exit from the Word Alive football tournament but it’s still worth a pause to reflect on one backpass and one awful nutmeg moment for our keeper. Some people probably think I should “get over it” with it being 8 years on. However, the memory is not helped by the fact my now wife was supporting the other team (our great rivals) at the time!
These were the days of communal caravan student meals. I remember a Fajita dish being divvied out to masses of people in one caravan. Madness. But this is how the early church did it I guess. Not sure that fajita spices were on the menu though in those days…!
In all seriousness though, we are so excited to be returning to Word Alive, and with many of our church family in tow this time, not to mention our little girl. It’s such a fantastic time of detailed Bible teaching, asking questions, praying and, with it being Easter Weekend too it offers a perfect chance to reflect on what God has done for us in Jesus.
His death, which we mark this Friday, achieved for us peace and harmony with God, which we could never attain on our own. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21.
His ultimate sacrifice in our place was only topped off by the historical event of the resurrection celebrated on Easter Sunday, which proved he was God and has the power over death. I can’t wait to rejoice in that over the next few days!