Deuteronomy 4:12 Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.
There must be about 1300 teenagers at the Montreat Youth Conference this week. Throughout the campus, many of the young people are wearing red,orange, and yellow t-shirts which carry the message “World on Fire.” It’s the theme of the conference and the message is about the chaos that’s in the world today. The hope is that our young people, who are passionate about global warming, equality, and justice, will be on fire with their faith in order to change the world.
That’s a tall order and one that we all can identify with. We all go through that special stage of wanting to do something that will make a difference in the world, but few of us really get the opportunity to do so. Our young people are growing up into a world that is vastly different from anything that we have ever experienced. The planet is suffering, the environment is out of kilter, the economy is fragile, and the Church is declining in the West. Gone are the days when the Christian faith dominated the social, cultural, and political standards in this country. These Montreat kids are going to have to fight for the existence and relevance of their faith decades from now.
What can we do to help them? We can try to understand their ways. We can listen to what they have to say and pay attention to what they’re feeling. We can strengthen our congregations and build up our own commitment to the Lord, so that they will have a solid base for the future. What we leave behind is just as important to their spiritual well being as anything that we have now. If we invest our time, talents, and money in our faith, then we will be giving them a strong start which will help them pass on the faith to their children.
So today, let’s think about how God speaks to us through Christ in the midst of a world that’s on fire. And as we do this, let’s also remember the struggle that our young people are facing now and thank God that despite us, they still remain faithful to Christ.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank You for the blessing of our young people. Help us not to take them for granted. Make us more aware of what they are experiencing. Grant us patience and wisdom, tolerance and enthusiasm in order to support and bolster what Christian faith they have. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.