For Youth Workers Post

Glocal Living

Sally Chambers

“In the Habit” session for use with devozine meditations for January 20–26, 2014.


“I spent a year of my childhood living in Soviet Russia. I lived with my family in a small town called Tambov, outside of Moscow. The country was communist at the time, and my father had been invited to come as a “friend” to assist with the start-up of a chemical plant.

“One day my father and I walked to the local shop to pick up our eggs. Eggs were rationed; and as we approached the shop, I saw a line of women with scarves wrapped tightly around their heads. My father walked past the line, into the shop, and straight up to the counter. As he picked up our eggs, I noticed that the woman beside us at the front of the line had also received her eggs. I was confused to see that she had only half as many eggs as we had. On the way home, I asked my father why we had gotten more eggs and why the women had to wait in line. He answered, “Because we are here as ‘friends.’”

“In that moment, the inequalities in the world became apparent and a cry for justice was born deep within me. To this day, a consciousness of the global village, in which we all live, has been woven into the details of my living.” —Sally



Sally-glocal livingSally Chambers has been practicing youth ministry for nineteen years as part of her life with God and people; she is currently on sabbatical. By trade, she is a counselor and spiritual director. She is also a lover of art, photography, people, hosting, adventure, stories, a cup of tea, beauty, all things English, her niece and her Grandma, abbey ruins and cathedrals, creation in its grandeur and wildness, playlists, and her furry four-legged companion Doodlebug. Sally is a co-author of the leader’s guide to The Way of Pilgrimage and the creator of The Pilgrim’s Way, an approach to leading pilgrimage with teenagers and adults. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is currently on staff and worshiping with St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church. She dreams of creating altars in the world where pilgrims may gather together, rest for a while, find renewed vision, be healed in body, heart, soul, and mind, and offer to the world the hope of God in Jesus Christ. Be sure to check out Sally’s blog.





  • The definition of “Butterfly Effect” in the Urban Dictionary
  • A synopsis of the movie The Butterfly Effect
  • The butterfly effect in a clip about “Time Travel” from Prophets of Science Fiction
    The butterfly effect is the idea that the smallest action in one place and time can change the outcome of an event somewhere else at another time. The concept of time travel offers a way of thinking about the butterfly effect. Changing the past, even a little, would change the present and the future.
  • Learn more about the textile trade in “Apparel Industry Trends: From Farm to Factory.”



Invite the group to say responsively:
       “The Lord be with you.”
       “And also with you.” 

Have someone light a candle as a symbol of God’s presence.

Invite group members to close their eyes, to take a deep breath, and to relax. Invite them to pay attention to their breathing. Suggest that as they exhale, they imagine breathing out distractions (tiredness, homework, worry). Suggest that as they inhale, they imagine breathing in the peace of God. Encourage group members to repeat the breathing exercise for a minute or two.

Ask this question:
       If you could travel back in time and change one event in history, where would you go and what would you change?

Ask people to work with a partner for this activity. Distribute paper and pens. Ask partners to choose one of their answers to the previous question. Then ask them to imagine that they actually changed this one event in history. What would be different now? What would have changed because of the change they made? Ask each pair to draw a timeline detailing the changes. Encourage partners to have fun and to be creative.

After a few minutes, bring the group together to talk briefly about their ideas. 

Say: “As much fun as it may be to imagine how the world would change if we could change the past, what’s especially interesting is the interdependence of actions and outcomes.”

Ask these questions:
       What is interdependence? (People, events are mutually dependent: one person affects another; one event affects another)
       Have you seen the thriller “The Butterfly Effect” or studied the butterfly effect in science? (NOTE: Someone is bound to bring up new research that says the butterfly effect can’t be predicted, but still it works for the purposes of discussion.)

Summarize: Essentially, the butterfly effect says that the flapping wings of a butterfly on one side of the world can cause significant weather change in another part of the world. Another way of saying it: Little things in one place and time could make a huge difference in another place and time.”

Ask this question:
       What are examples of the butterfly effect? In what ways does it seem to be true?
   > You stay up late. You then oversleep, which makes your family late leaving for school and your mother late for a meeting at work. The meeting runs late. Another person involved in the meeting is late to leave for his daughter’s luncheon at school. He arrives to find his young daughter in tears, thinking her dad wasn’t coming.
   > Climate change affects the glaciers and the polar ice cap, which not only destroys the habitat for polar bears, but also raises the level of the oceans and finally floods coastal cities.
   > Buying locally-brewed fair trade coffee supports a local business and a family; it also helps provide a fair wage for a farmer in South America.
   > The clothes we buy locally make a difference to workers in developing countries.)



Scripture: Acts 1:4–9

Introduce the scripture by asking:
       Why should we care how the decisions we make affect people around the world?

Distribute Bibles. Ask everyone to find the Book of Acts. Explain that Acts picks up where the Gospel of Luke leaves off. Jesus has been raised from the dead and has appeared to his disciples, breaking bread with them and giving them instruction.

Ask a volunteer to read aloud Acts 1:4–9 (NIV):
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Ask these questions:
       What instructions is Jesus giving the disciples?
       What does it mean to be a witness?
       In what places are the disciples to be witnesses? (Judea and Samaria are the countryside that encircles Jerusalem.)
       Jesus tells them to be witnesses “to the ends of the earth.” What does that tell us about the character of God? What places in the world matter to God? What people in the world matter to God? (God wants to set the whole world right.)
       What were the disciples to have witnessed? What had they seen when they were with Jesus? What would they testify to? (God is setting the world right again: Death has been defeated, and healing has come for the world. The hungry will be fed, the marginalized included, the imprisoned set free. The lame will walk.)

Say: “When Jesus says that the disciples will receive the power to be witnesses, he is saying that they will take part in the restoration of the world. Jesus says we have a part to play in God’s restoration of the world. God asks us to help right what is wrong in the world.”

Ask these questions:
       Why should we care about what’s happening in the world?
       Why do the decisions we make locally—here at home—matter?
       Why should we think globally when we act locally?



Distribute small slips of paper and pens. Invite each person to write down one choice he or she has made that had an adverse effect either locally or globally. Collect the slips of paper in a metal coffee tin. Take the group outside, and ask group members to form a circle around the tin. Burn the pieces of paper in the tin.

Pray: “God, receive our confessions. Forgive us for the choices we make that adversely affect the people and the world around us. In this small fire, forge in us an awareness of both the local and the global implications of our choices. As fire is a symbol of your power and presence, make us aware of your presence in the world and the power to help you right what is wrong. Let your kingdom come among us. Amen.



  • Invite the group to plan a trip to the Heifer Ranch in Arkansas. Begin by requesting more information about the Global Gateway Program.
  • Invite the group to watch the 80s classic Back to the Future. Talk about how our actions here and now can affect another time and space.
  • Invite the group to choose a local project that will affect the local or global community—for example, they may find coffee houses that serve locally brewed fair-trade coffee, research clothing companies that offer fair wages to employees overseas, or pick up trash in a local park and plant some flowers.
—from devozine In the Habit (January/February 2014). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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