They stand there before the “big show”, and their excitement and anticipation are palpable. Friends, family, and special people in their lives have gathered with them to celebrate on this most joyous occasion. All are at the crossroads. Much has been accomplished – much is in front of them. This day is truly about acknowledging, affirming, and encouraging them for the place they are on their journey. Confirmations, Baccalaureates, Commencements and Closing Chapel for the School year: holy moments for holy people.
I am absolutely blessed to have a primary role in these rituals of transition. In many respects it is my responsibility to not only acknowledge the presence of the Holy, but also to call the gathered community to thankfulness.
I am often asked if I am concerned about the “next generation” having faith. My response is consistently no. The reality is that some of the most faithful folks I know are young people – and yes I have read the reports about young adults not being engaged with the Church. The reality is, like generations before them, many young people live into and express their faith differently.
I am grateful for all those who walk with our young people, both in and outside our faith communities. Our congregations, our schools (Breck and Shattuck-St. Mary’s), and Sheltering Arms all provide transformational experiences for young people across Minnesota.
Our programatic focus this year in ECMN has been to Engage God’s Mission by Engaging All God’s Children. When folks ask me how has that gone for us – all I have to say is: look around. Are young people’s lives in a better place than before? My answer is that the Holy Spirit is truly beginning to help us to use our gifts to meet the needs of young people in our world!