May 1st was Youth Sunday at our Church. Young people greeting us as we arrived. Thanking us as we left. Dozens of young people –handling in their own style every facet of the service. They changed the format, changed the timbre of the voices, changed the fashion, changed the music - and most likely changed a lot of less than youthful minds.
Their theme for this Youth Sunday was PEACE. The prayers, music, reflections, and mini sermons all performed and created by these young people certainly made us think about youth and peace. In a different way.
One of the speakers said she had never known a time of peace. It made her sad. She asked, “How can we change that?” A graduating senior said because of his coach he developed peace of mind by learning patience. He learned you can’t always be the star, sharing wins the game. Another young man talked about what peace could look like. It starts, he said, by just being kind to people. By admitting that perhaps you and your team are not always right.
The operative words from each speaker were: Listen. Learn. Share. Act. Faith. Kindness. Loyalty. Knowledge. Justice…and probably a few more I missed.
Our congregation listened to these youthful speakers with awe. Even clapped in a Presbyterian church. Big smiles helped us recognize the parents, grandparents, and family members. You have every reason to be proud. Keep smiling.
The sincerity of these young people is a gift. A gift of hope. They help us recall Nelson Mandela’s words: It always seems impossible until it’s done. Or Madame Curie’s challenge: Don’t look at what has been done. Look at what still needs to be done.
I believe our young people are up to the challenges. Keep the faith.