In a week, we will gather on the Lord’s Day on Sunday, February 23, as we do each week, to worship with one another, but on this particular day, we will gather around our youth in a particular way. It will be Youth Sunday, which is the day we invite the youth to lead in worship. During the days and weeks leading up to Youth Sunday, they will be reading scripture and thinking about its meaning, writing prayers and thinking about the church, and preparing music, which will be offered to God on behalf of the congregation. [pullquote_right width=”53%”]As we give voice to our faith, it becomes our own, and we develop maturity.[/pullquote_right]
Youth Sunday is a unique day, but rooted in a common practice. Throughout the hallways and the rooms of the church, we are constantly living into the meaning of Youth Sunday, caring for the children of the church and cultivating their faith towards maturity and insight. We value the children and youth of the church because they hold a particular place in our congregation. We surround them with the love of God and the wisdom of others, so that in this place, they can experience grace, ask questions, foster joy, and develop compassion for others.
We gather around them on this particular day, as they lead us in worship, so they can continue to develop their voice. As we give voice to our faith, it becomes our own, and we develop maturity. We invite them to use their voices, as we worship. Then we gather around them to offer our appreciation. On this day, we articulate the prayers we always say for them in our words of affirmation. Finally, we gather around them in order to give thanks. We are reminded that they are a gift to us, watching them grow in their lives and in their faith.
As we stand back and look upon this day, we see again the beauty of the church in those relationships that span the generations, from sharing a hymnal with one another to sharing words of wisdom. The children and youth of the church are always looking over the church’s shoulder, learning more about faith and God than can be placed into words. The way for children and youth to grow into mature, faithful adults is to spend time with mature, faithful adults, as we learn by looking over the shoulders of others.
We celebrate all of those relationships between the generations. They often go unnoticed, but every now and then we hear them said out loud. On the afternoon of the picnic, following worship on the Children’s Sabbath last year, a car with one of our youth drove into the parking lot at the park, and he saw all of the people from the church gathered together, and he said, “Look at all of the senior adults who came. Isn’t that great?” We hear the appreciation of those relationships that span the generations. On Youth Sunday, we will say again how we value those relationships, as the youth lead us in worship, and we affirm their voices of faith.