“Don’t worry! He is still alive…
They took the young man home and were greatly comforted.”
Jesus brought young people back to life.
The young girl at her home. Jairus’s Daughter. Check it out.
Mark 5 v 35 – 42
The young man whose funeral procession Jesus interrupted by resurrecting him. Soak this one up.
Luke 7 v 11 - 16
Then through Paul, the young man bored to death, who was quickly revived to life.
Acts 20 v 7 - 12
We worry so much about the loss of young people from the traditional church. Rightly so. Church statistics, the slippery slope of church decline, vacant pews, vacant hearts. “Jesus? No Vacancy in our heart for you.” The saviour is thrown out with the system that sucks that’s supposed to be sacred.
We also worry about all the sick things in this world that are harming young people.
With good reason!
Disintegrated families, Self Centred Society, Virtual Overload, the sexualisation of children, cyber bullying, etc, etc. Casual jobs, casual commitments, casual sex, casual cutting, casual substance abuse, casual collapse. Casualties.
There are plenty of dangers for youth in society. We should worry for young people.
We should probably worry a lot more than we do. Enough to take action.
Perhaps as we work through our stages of grief over young people, we have come to the place of acceptance now. They are goners.
Probably we are all weaping over the loss of our young people from the Church and for the damage being done to them in the world.
Perhaps we are actively leading the metaphoric funeral processions.
Perhaps we regularly mourn the loss of this young person, or that one. And that’s all we are doing. Mourning.
We will miss our young people. We loved them.
No! No! No!
No more giving up. No more death talk! Resurrection time!
Jesus says, “Young person! Get up, I tell you.”
How about we..
- Stop boring them to death, going on and on with all our churchy talk, long in to the night, busy with our own agendas, but not even noticing they are disengaging.
- Realise when we have hurt young people, and throw ourselves at their mercy, (which may seem to have gone quite cold by now), and hug them back to life. Love them, listen to them, care about their needs and pray that Jesus might revive them spiritually through our loving actions towards them. Let them know straight out that we love them and that we care.
- Go, be with them. Meet them in the places in the world that are making them sick and bring hope and healing in to their situations. Protect them from all the destructive, poisonous nonsense in our society. Speak the truth to them about what’s really going on out there. Connect them to hope in God. Model a better way to live. Be in relationship with them to show them how it’s done.
- Stop wailing. They aren’t dead to the world, just sleepy when it comes to church life the way it is at the moment. We can change that. With God’s help.
- Interrupt our own funeral processions with an expectation for Jesus to bring new life. “Don’t worry, only believe!” Stand back. Let Jesus through! Watch the signs of new life! Here they come!
- Present them back to their family of the faith and give them some thing to eat, (something meaty for grown ups instead of milk for babies!). Let’s really nourish their souls. Let’s call them to discipleship. Let’s empower them to minister to their peers not just expect them to, with out actually equipping them. Let’s dare them to follow Jesus. Let’s dare ourselves to as well, and take that challenge along side them.
- Let’s involve them with Jesus, and us, to experience life, life in all it’s fullness.
Jesus, we commit the crisis of a soul destroying world and the damage it does to young people to you.
We commit the problem of the loss of young people from the church to you.
We invite you to barge through our bawling. Throw our funeral procession in to disarray with new life! Surprise us. Speak resurrection words.
Please, please, please, Jesus, bring young people back to life in all it’s fullness, to faith and yes, even to the church. Through us. Through your Spirit.
Give us the heart, the hands, the ways and the words to love them.
Give us the right soul food to nourish and sustain their faith, to keep them going for the long haul.
And all the people said..