Mood: weary from the ebullience of youthful fancies…
Weather: crystalline snowdrifts sparkle under starry Night skies…
Reading: The Color of Absence compiled by James Howe
Having endeavored to stretch myself out in all directions at once, especially in the service of my local assembly, it is to the charge of discipleship that I have found myself most engaged…
I have cleared out underbrush and unclogged gutters for them, I have washed their dishes after Fellowship Meals and minded the wee babes during Worship services, I have served on committees and opened/closed Bible Studies in prayer… I have tried to work with every age and demographic of our congregation in one manner or another.
The contexts shift, but the underlying essence remains the same… I am attempting to not only espouse and exhort the teachings of our LORD, but to see their outworking within my life.
Among the “hoary heads” in our congregation, I have greatly benefited from listening more than I speak – but entreating also with earnest and resolute inquiry. Among my peers of young adults and college students, I am empathetic to the concerns of household and career – even as I am wont to turn things towards deeper perspectives than the immediate pragmatic.
Regarding the youth, well… let me just say that I have found a beguiling spectrum of veneration and indifference.
I think I am personable enough that I am not outright despised (at least, not often), but I am quite aware that my manner can and will offend if malcontent is whetted with enough severity. That said, it has been fascinating to get to know these young people.
The first of the youth that I became familiar with was a conversation I had with a young man that hinged upon our shared proclivity (or is it tendency?) for wearing sandals in the snow.
From this tenuous (and rather silly) kinship I was able to prompt him to talk about his interests, which ranged from such cerebral pursuits as early Christian history and puzzles of Logic to more adolescent ventures like MMORPGs and the NFL playoffs.
We bonded over a couple games of Chess (I underestimated him and he gave me a good drubbing in the first game, I played defensively and wore him out in the second) and traded emails so I could send him a list of recommended books on the “Desert Fathers” and rudimentary Theology.
After him, was another young man that I saw one night – sitting amidst the laughing din, idly spinning a football on his finger. I asked him if he played for his school`s team and it turned out that he was the starting Quarterback – and that he struggled with inconsistent results that were due more, in my estimation, to a lack of strong fundamentals than any shortage of talent.
We spoke at different times, and I offered a few suggestions on his mechanics that he found quite helpful. I extolled the importance of leadership in a good Quarterback, from which I segued into the virtues of Christian leadership in men.
He has come a good ways since… both as a signal-caller and as a young follower of Christ.
Of course, there are many more others that I have come to know fondly… but that is not why I speak of them tonight.
As the days/weeks/months have passed, these young people have continued to mature in ways that have delighted and astounded me… this evening was the best thus far.
Tonight they shared their testimonies as well as their passion for evangelism and for service, two areas that I have belabored heavily to them as being visible outward manifestations of the ardent Christian walk. Some of them still hold back (as is to be expected) and some are yet unprofessing or simply inattentive.
I am encouraged by this palpable maturity and fervor that gives every appearance of continuing, but I am chastened by it as well…
…for I heard too much of myself coming back to me, my own words and phrasings, and I hope that the enthusiasm shown has nothing to do with my personality but everything to do with His Spirit.
Sandals in the snow… leaving footprints that remain well after Spring`s thaw.