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Partnering with you in your child's formation
I ate lunch at a high school the other day. The students who saw me and knew me from church were excited, but a little embarrassed. You know the feeling. It’s like when you’re in fifth grade and you see your teacher in the grocery store. It’s weird.
But I also sensed that it was a bit uncomfortable for them to find their youth minister at school. Why? Does public school allow young people to be integrated, spiritual people? Or does it teach them to compartmentalize themselves, to check their faith at the door of ‘regular’ life?
God shares both His flesh and Spirit with us, and nothing about life or human endeavor is excluded from encounter with Him. With God, we get not compartmentalization of ‘normal’ and ‘spiritual,’ but full and final integration: a city where all tribes of the earth will worship, or a human king who turns out to be both a manual laborer and God. As Creator, every good, normal thing finds its origin in Him, and in His wake He leaves a yearning for the transcendent.
This week, Bishop Sutton will join us in praying for several dozen people who have asked to be confirmed in the Church. The German theologian and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, spent most of his ministry as a children’s and youth pastor. In the face of the foreboding rise of Nazism, he exhorted his Confirmation class with this idea: It is only in the world that you will find Christ. If you don’t find him in the world, you’re not going to find him, because it is only in the world that faith is real.
Confirmands, you have a calling, and that is to be a Christian. The bishop will anoint you with holy oil as if he were anointing a priest. You are to live your life as if your church nametag never comes off. You are to seek Him in worship, in prayer, in job transitions, in failure, in track practice, in A.P. History, in grocery shopping, in getting stopped at a light next to a panhandler. You are not to live worried about whether, if tested, the truth of Christ will hold up to “reality.” Rather, live as if everything else ultimately finds its meaning only in the truth of Christ.
That is the Church. That is the life that will bear the fruit of the Spirit, which is what we pray for you.
Amber NoelAssociate Director of Student Ministry
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