Yesterday’s youth-led worship services were the perfect antidote to the unrest in our community and denomination. For all the alarming vitriol that has tainted the public discussion over the school referendum, we experienced the gift of talented and wise and joyful youth worship leaders. It was a visible reminder that they are giving us their best and deserve our best in return. For all the angst about what will come out of the United Methodist Church’s General Conference when it concludes tomorrow, we were reminded that the heart of it all is following Jesus who, as we were reminded by their challenging gospel lesson (Luke 6:27-38), commands us to love our enemies, to give and forgive generously, to not judge or condemn, acts that Jesus both demanded and demonstrated.
I was quite impressed with the 4 and ½ sermons I was able to hear our high school seniors offer. I’m sure the other 1.5 were excellent, too. What I heard was young adults pulling together what this church has been teaching them, some for their entire lives and some in recent months. They talked about finding salvation in Jesus and acceptance in a youth ministry, about forgiving the minor affronts as a way to learn the habit for when we’re called on to forgive major offenses, about sharing what has been shared with us and living as disciples of Jesus Christ. Each picked up on different elements of that demanding passage from Luke and helped us consider how our lives reflect Jesus’ words.
With all that makes us anxious in the world today, being led in excellent worship services by our talented young people is a reminder that God has not given up on us – and won’t. There are more reasons to hope than despair, more good to come than we can yet imagine, more opportunities for faith and faithfulness yet before us. Thanks be to God!