Andrew Morrison from Claremont Parish Church, East Kilbride

“When we worship together as a community of living Christians, we do not worship alone, we worship with all the company of heaven.” ~ Marianne H. Micks. That quotation completely sums up my experience of worship at NYA this year, you could totally sense the presence of God in all that we did! Worship was certainly an integral part of the NYA weekend, with 7 group worship sessions, and many other option-times given throughout the weekend to worship in a variety of ways – all of which were wonderful and engaging.

Unfortunately, worship at Church can, at times, feel lifeless and dull. I certainly can say they’ve been times at Church where I really wanted to worship with all my heart, but the music, ambience and surroundings just didn’t feel very “worshipful” at all. However, this was completely different from the worship at NYA. We sang our hearts out to God along with the fantastic 7 piece band that led us in worship each session. Many of the contemporary songs were completely new to most of us, but that didn’t stop us giving our all to God.

We heard scripture and the life of Jesus being told in a new and engaging way. No longer were they just stories about some guy found in a big confusing book, but they told the life of this amazing man, the works he did, the love he showed and the grace he offers. We sang African songs of hope and adoration. One of our favourites was “Bambelela”, which means “Never Give Up/Hold on (to Jesus)” which we sang in rounds at various points during worship. Most of us were singing it for days it was that good!

There were opportunities for interactive worship, with candles, prayer and art and more. We had a “U2-charist” (i.e. communion with U2 songs instead of traditional worship songs & hymns) which I think made us all think about how we can worship God not just in Church, or whilst doing the traditional “Christian things” (Bible reading, worship music and prayer). We even had the Moderator of the General Assembly come and sing “Listen For The Gospel” to us after speaking to us on the last morning!

The varied worship programme was something we are all really thankful to the NYA staff for doing. We could worship in the way that suited us; we didn’t have to stick to the same format all the time. I’m confident that God really communicated his presence to us through this, giving us all a real passion to go out to our Churches with a renewed sense of the living, loving God that we all worship. Bambelela!