I had a chance to speak for the Youth Sunday program at the Trinity Marthoma Church Edmonton. The following is the full text of my speech:
Youth or young age is an important phase in the lives of many people. Some call it a transitional stage between being mature and childhood. But nevertheless it’s a very important stage of human evolution where one has his life in his hand like a dice. All he has to do is roll the dice. How he/she does it is very imperative as it formulates his destiny. The social establishments like the family, church, community, media play a huge role in this evolution. As of today when our churches all over celebrate the Youth Sunday, lets have an overview about the roles that are expected of the youth specially when it comes to a church environment.
1. Rise Upto the Occasion:
David was just like any other youth except for the fact that unlike many of the youths in Saul’s army including his son, he rose upto the occasion in dealing with Goliath. What we had in that situation was the large Philistine army and the larger stature of the giant but it required a mere shepherd boy to rise upto the occasion his armor being stones and a sling!! His strength being his unquestioned belief in his God. We youths today are faced with similar situations everywhere were churches are failing, from very basic social unit families to communities failing with strife and despair its highly important to seize control whenever a vacuum created is noticed. When we look around we see a society that needs direction, a community that is short of objective and people confused about their faith, worried about their economic condition. They need is a new direction, a new hope. Two thousand years ago, a man in his early thirties took charge and through his words and actions influenced a whole race of people, altered the course of world history for ever. Today we see the sojourn of a junior senator in our southern neighbour and we look at awe and inspiration. That, my brothers and sisters is the power of youth, the power of rising up to the occasion. You don’t need any theology, any ‘so called’ teachers of faith, just a strong belief in your creator and the guts to take control and see the fruits of your action…like David and like Jesus. I call upon you…rise up, seize the situation and take control and don’t regret or turn back.
2. Pressing on to the Goal:
The greek poet Hesoid once remarked “I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words.” That’s the view many of the older people have today regarding the youth. When we look around in society we see this inertia in handing over responsibility to youth can be attributed to this very fact: recklessness. That is why in Philippians 3, apostle Paul stresses on the importance of pressing on to the goal that is in his words “Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead” Its not easy unless we have a higher view of things. All the great entrepreneurs from Sam Walton to Bill Gates had higher goals, higher mountains to climb but they kept pressing on to the goal. Its not easy and losing interest is easier. Let’s go back to David…Saul tried to dissuade him in the beginning by telling in verse 33 you are only a boy, and he (Goliath) has been a fighting man from his youth. But to David, yes Goliath was a giant but his God was a bigger giant he dint see this obstacle big enough to be even perturbed and he had a goal: to see his God glorified. It’s like this to the mountain in front of us and we don’t see it because we see a bigger God! And when we have sights on that God, we will never lose direction. We should never lose that direction for as apostle Paul reaffirms in verse 20 of chapter 3 “our citizenship is in heaven. Cause we await a saviour from there”. So as said before, we rise up to the occasion, set goals and press on to those goals without losing heart.
3. Transforming Ourselves: David grew from a shepherd to being the most revered of all the kings in the Israel history, Joseph grew from being a dreamer to being the second most powerful, non Egyptian in those times of famine, Elisha grew from ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen to being a major prophet of Israel…we see youths who rise up to the occasion, pressing onto the goals simply undergoing transformation. The whole process changes us and it influences our walk ahead in whatever we do. Paul emphasises the same tone in when he instructs Timothy to set an example for everyone in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity and to watch his life, doctrine and ministry carefully with full perseverance because for you to be saved. It is important to move on, change with the new found responsibility. It was the success behind King David especially in his dealings with his people, his dealings with God and to illustrate the point clearly in the Baathsheba issue, his remorse and his repentance. . Again this change, the step-wise transformation we see in Jesus from being the son of a carpenter to our Lord and finally our Christ. I hope you get the tone of what I am telling. We take responsibility, with clear cut path to the goal and we transform ourselves so we attain the final victory.
That today my brothers and sisters is the message for the youth today. We today are like the rich man who went to see Jesus as we see in the gospel reading. We have everything, we are trained so well, we have the best education, the best of all facilities whether it is again church wise, community wise, society wise etc. Yet we feel left out. We live confused lives as we don’t know who we are. Where do we stand, what is our identity and what we are . This explains why we feel inadequate and troubled when we move on in life both professionally and personally. Jesus again implies the same tone when he tells the man to give up everything to get the treasures in heaven and then follow him. The Bible tells that the man just walked away as he was too rich. Let’s take the idea today. People go around telling how they feel left down in church, how they can’t connect with the church, with customs, with language and with the community. They live confused where their standing is. That my friends, is the ideal breeding ground for the Devil, and we have issues of false theologies and false teachers, wrong doctrines leading to immorality in church resulting in a fractured church. I ask all of you…What today is your contribution to the church? If the church is Christ’s body and if we are all the members of the church, if the church is dysfunctional, stagnant and reformation-dead we only have ourselves to blame as we the youths have failed in our responsibility. For the church is greater than an individual, a family, or a group of people….the church is you and it is imperative that we youths should ask this question today, what are we doing for the church. Once we realise that, we just rise upto the occasion, press on to the goal, and we undergo the transformation on our own and thereby we grow, the church grows and finally our Christ is glorified.
Image Courtesy: http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/media/image/l/o/ypg_1__1.jpg
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