This past Sunday was not only Mother’s Day, but also a youth led worship here at St. Paul’s. Our young people did a wonderful job! Their authentic sharing of their faith and gifts made worship very special and every mom was proud.
Recently, I have been hearing and seeing articles and commentaries on how young people today are perceived. They have been accused of being lazy, entitled, uninformed and immature. This is the short list. Yes, I am sure there are people in every generation that share these mentioned negative attributes. But my experience with our young people of today is quite the opposite.
I have seen and experienced firsthand the quality of these young folks and their compassion, passion, drive, commitment, talent and wisdom. I have seen reports of how our spoiled young folks don’t know anything about history, economics or learning to come back from failure.
But that is only one small part of a much bigger story. There is great depth to these young people! In many ways they are better informed and connected to the greater world. They are much more skilled than many generations before them. I will say that they face great challenges that no generation in the past has faced.
I am amazed how the young people of today deal with a much more complex world than the one I grew up in, or even what my parents of the “Great Generation” had to face in their teens and twenties. I am amazed at how they set priorities that are often time different than their parents or grandparents. This isn’t a bad thing. When you look at how past generations treated our relationship with the earth, our neighbors and even God, I think our young folks are onto something.
The idealism of youth is normal and not such a bad thing at all. We complain when we see youth on their phones. Who got them their phones in the first place? Who are just as involved when it comes to our phones, social media, electronic games and media?
If we are afraid of the future, don’t blame the youth of today, it is those who have come before them (that’s us) who have contributed to the chaos. The reason the old Soviet Union fell apart was not because of the Pope or Ronald Reagan. It was because of the young protestors who took to the streets, who risked it all to show the world that they were not going to live under such authoritarian rule.
It was primarily young people and the church who were at the forefront of the Civil Rights marches, as well as the anti-war movement. The Reformation was guided by men in their twenties and thirties, but empowered by the even younger pastors and scholars who wanted to reform the oppressive power of the Roman Catholic Church. The disciples of Jesus ranged in age from late teens thru mid-twenties, not the old guys so often portrayed in movies and art.
Last Sunday reminded me of how God’s love shared through our parents and grandparents is passed down to our children and our children’s children. Two of our young people sang a duet at one of the Sunday service, the title was: “I will never be Alone”. Their singing filled me with joy and hope. I also shed a few tears. Their voices were clear and passionate in their belief that God’s love was always with them wherever that were. A love that is handed down from one generation to the next. These young people will wear God’s love as a seal upon their hearts, a mantle upon their shoulders and as a crown upon their heads.
Pray for our young people, encourage and affirm them. For they have many struggles that lay before them. But God is with them, just as God is with us. God will not let His children be abandon or fail in their mission and hope.