Learning from our youngers l Worship

By Pastor David Parks, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church | Feb 28, 2018

The latest census projections for our county predict a significant increase in the number of people 18 and under living in, and going to, school in our community.

According to the bureau, in 2016 there were about 182,000 of them.

We’ll need them.

Kids are changing us. They are demanding more from their elders. They are asking important questions and advocating crucial concerns. They are both precious and powerful.

In 2015, a group of students aged 9 to 20 filed suit against the federal government for its failure to deal with the implications of climate change.

They argue that my generation has neglected its responsibility to steward the planet in a way that insures them a sustainable future.

That same year, high school kids in Marshal, Michigan stood up for the International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Even in the face of the school administration’s initial refusal, these young people held their ground and advocated for their often-marginalized LGBTQ peers.

Students from our congregation are planning a learning and service trip to the ELCA’s Youth Gathering in Houston, Texas later this year. Part fun, part faith formation and part hard work; the event will assemble 30,000 Lutheran teens for the sake of social justice, public witness and community action.

In 2012, 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai boarded a school bus along with other young girls from her village in defiance of a Taliban threat.

She was simply asserting her right to an education.

Fighters stopped the vehicle, fired on the students and left them for dead.

Surviving a wound to the head, Malala has become an international spokesperson for justice for girls.

In the wake of yet another mass murder on a high school campus, students from Parkland, Florida have organized protests and publicly appealed to their governor and federal lawmakers to enact laws that would provide for reasonable restrictions on gun ownership and public safety.  Their trauma has moved them to action.

“The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11.6 NRSV

They call my generation the “Baby Boomers.”

Born in the decade following World War II, there are a lot of us.

In some ways, we’ve grown up.

In other ways, we are still a bunch of “babies.”

I look at my youngers and realize again that I have things to learn from them.

I’m reading Isaiah’s prophesy with new awareness that this new generation is inspiring and challenging us; teaching character, urgency, integrity, compassion and a better way to live together.

Heed Isaiah’s call to pay closer attention to the young people in your life.

Don’t just pray for them.

Instead act, vote, spend, speak and work as if their lives and ours depended on it.


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