Over the last several days I have had the blessing of spending a fair bit of time with young people in the Episcopal Church in Minnesota.
On Saturday, I attended the Minneapolis Teens Encounter Christ (TEC). Beyond my general desire to be supportive, I went also because a young man asked me to be present during his talk on God’s unconditional love. It was an extremely powerful and deeply personal presentation about how he came to understand God’s love. On Sunday afternoon, I returned to TEC in time to hear both a youth and a young adult share about their faith journeys and the role retiring youth minister Gary Dietz played in those journeys.
After TEC, I made my way across the river to the University Episcopal Campus ministry. It was a great time to socialize, to share in Gospel Based Discipleship, and to celebrate the Holy Mysteries.
On Monday, I had the great pleasure of attending Trustee Day at Breck. My chaperone for the day was none other than my youngest son, Gage. It was a great day taking a deep dive into his and his peers’ world.
Each one of these encounters with young people was both rich and rewarding. Each also caused me to reflect on the two brothers who allegedly are responsible for the bombings at the Boston Marathon. If in fact they are responsible for these horrific acts, I can’t help but wonder what caused them to reach what would appear to be such a place of disregard for others.
The reality is that most young people are inquisitive, hopeful, fun-loving, caring individuals. There are, however, a number of young people who have for a whole host of reasons lost hope, lost connection to the greater community; lost or never had a sense of being a child of God.
Yet, I’m not giving up on them, and hope you won’t, either. No one is disposable — especially the youngest in our midst. Please continue to seek ways to be in relationship with, mentor, support, and encourage the young people in your life — and those who could be in your life.