If ever you need to experience God’s presence in a deeply, meaningful way, hang out with some children or youth for a while. That’s what I got to do all summer – Passport Kids, youth mission trip, Unidiversity youth camp, and Vacation Bible School. I was reminded, again and again, that they have a vital ministry in this world. They help me to laugh, they help me not to take myself so seriously, they think deeply, they cry with me, they help to make God’s presence real and tangible. Thank you! As a child of God in need of care just like everyone else, thank you.
I had those experiences again this past Wednesday night at our baptism service. Logan Cowardin and Patrick Barbier came to tell the world that their faith is important and that they, on hearing Jesus’ invitation to come and follow, have decided to respond. Thanks be to God.
I’m always moved by the words of those who are baptized – they write a statement of faith that is read by someone who has played an important part in their faith journey. Part of Patrick’s statement said, “there’s a difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus.” Too many people of faith desire to have a whole bunch of knowledge about Jesus, when our Christian faith is about a relationship, not knowing a bunch of facts. Following him and how we live our lives as a beloved child of God – that’s what is important. Thanks for reminding me, Patrick.
Part of Logan’s statement read, “through my youth group experiences, I’ve learned that it’s OK that I don’t have all the answers, and that it’s OK to question and doubt.” There are too many people who don’t feel welcomed at church because they think they can’t question or doubt, that they need to have it all together if they’re going to come to church. Logan – thanks for reminding me that my questions and doubts are welcomed here and we’ll learn together as we are on the journey of faith together.
Logan and Patrick’s statements of faith – both in the written word and in the symbolism of baptism, spoke to me in a deeply, significant way. Thank you for your witness, boys.
Logan and Patrick were just one of many examples this summer that helped remind me of my passion for my ministry with children and youth. A quote by Howard Thurman that has become one of my favorites: Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
What makes you come alive? How will you respond?
My hope and prayer is that we here at RRCB provide opportunities for you to come alive and to respond in a significant way. I’m looking forward to getting back into the routine of being community with you. September 13th is our Celebration Sunday. A great day of fellowship around the table, of worship, of acknowledging God’s presence in our lives, of looking forward to where the journey will take us, and of hearing about some of our children and youth’s summer experiences. Looking forward to seeing you.