This Sunday, I want to invite you to listen to the dramatist, the artist, the ballerina, the coxswain, the helper at the family business, the bakers for a soup kitchen, the nature lovers, the soccer players, the golfers, the up and coming reporter, the newly baptized, who are all the future of our church. I’ve had the pleasure of working with all of these incredible youth throughout the past year. It’s been the epicenter of building and maintaining my faith in the church.
As we creep closer to June 15, wondering about people’s habits, there has been one constant. For me, faith is built and maintained in a community. The youth and the successive Sunday conversations with them about what being an Episcopalian means have been a balm to the crazy everyday COVID realities. Our discussions included: what is Hooker’s three-legged stool, what is our shared church history, why are some heretics never welcome in the age they live, what does it mean to give away the stuff we don’t want vs. ask what one needs, what’s it like to talk to a mentor about their faith journey, what does it mean to doubt, is faith really like Alice going down the rabbit hole, where did our Nicene Creed come from, what can we learn from other religions, and what are different forms of prayer. All of these have been enriching discussions, and the youth have never disappointed in their curiosity.
I find myself calling, texting, zooming, and meeting with the youth this week. I have been coaxing, praying for, and trying to affirm these confirmands as they get ready to speak in public. They all have great things to share, and it is now that I realize once again that I have to let go and let God. Oh, I’ll work with them up until the last minute. Still, this service’s affirmation by a community and these mature reflections on their passages are heartfelt and only the start for so many of them on their elegant spiritual journeys. It has been a privilege to walk with them this year, and I look forward to how they will give back to our church, community, and the whole world in the years to come.