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Friday, December 11, 2009

Advent day 13

Tonight we had the high school group from church over to our house. We like to have them over now and again so that we can get to know them better and also so that they will see us as approachable human beings who are genuinely interested in their lives and well-being. Since we've now been in the church for 11 years, we've seen some of the kids grow up right before our eyes. They have turned into wonderful human beings. Really loving, fun, open, generous and caring kids. It is such a treat to watch them interact with one another, easily relating to one another having successfully broken through barriers like race, culture and economy. Tonight we had several kids whose parents do not come from the same country as one another, many whose parents immigrated with the hopes of providing them with a brighter future, and others who are here for a short time because one of their parents is here on a work contract. The countries represented in our living room included Sweden, Denmark, South Korea, Eritrea, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, The United States, and The Netherlands. They are good to one another. They look out for one another. They've committed themselves to being at church on Friday nights and have forged deep and abiding relationships with one another because of it.
Several of our youth are now involved in our ministry. Many help with Sunday School. Others read scripture during our worship service. Some have recently volunteered to help run the projection and usher and serve coffee after church. It is such a blessing to see them becoming more deeply identified with our community. It is hard to hang onto kids after high school. They go away for school and often don't find a new church community. Then when they return home they are uncertain of who they are in the church. But if we can continue to help them forge strong relationships with one another and continue to be THE place in their lives where they can gather and enjoy one another's company, and be encouraged to know God and one another better, then we have a much better chance of seeing them remain connected into their adulthood.
I hope that the kids of our church know the deep and abiding joy they bring to all of us pastors. They are a wonderful bunch and I feel very lucky that they would want to spend even a little time with me. I hope they will always feel the love we have for them, the investment we make in their lives, the unconditional love that God has for them and in turn eagerly serve the church through their presence and unique contributions.