Steadfast in Society: Liturgics and the Young
At this past Lenten Wednesday service we (Divine Savior Lutheran Church, Shepherdsville, KY) had an opportunity to introduce a couple of young men into the service of our Lord. Many parishes often times have struggles with getting the young to want to participate in the service. It may be serving as an Acolyte or a Crucifer. But we have to ask the question why are so many of our young people unwilling or not wanting to serve the Pastor in delivering the Gospel?
There is an innumerable amount of publications that teach us how to raise our youth so that they will, “stick with the faith.” But most all of them miss the mark. Why? Because they are too busy telling Pastors to be concerned about making the Church interesting or “relevant” to our youth rather than teaching them the marks of the Church and having them serve in reverence. This is a huge problem. Youth trips are great. Servant events are great. But seeing the faith in young men’s eyes as they desire to serve our Lord in the Divine Service is something else entirely.
I witnessed two (and one who wanted to serve next Wednesday) children who were begging to serve the Lord only by lighting candles. Mark 10 kept coming to my mind, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” We must teach our youth the importance of the Divine Service. We do so by teaching them catechesis and by showing them the faith in the participation in the Divine Service.
What more is there for our youth than teaching them the right reception of God’s gifts? Nothing! I thank God for these young men who are willing to step up and desire to serve Christ. They are the youth that does not desire to serve Christ arbitrarily, but liturgically. Our youth crave liturgics. Why give them anything else? They are the children of God who we should be, receiving and serving. Christ didn’t make His church difficult. Christ made His church simple that even a child can understand it. They and we must understand it as that which is promised: the word and the sacraments. This promise extends to all who are present; Crucifers, acolytes, Pastor, and congregation. Praise be to Christ that we all receive the forgiveness of sins through the means of grace!
Who wouldn’t want to serve this Divine Service? Who wouldn’t want to partake in the perfection that the body and blood of Christ gives? To that, I have no answer. But I can tell you that our youth have a desire and want for it. Give it to them! Let them serve! Encourage them to serve! Just the lighting of a candle is a confession of faith. Put aside your youth paradigms. Put aside your youth publications. Just let them light a candle. It is a confession of faith from a child and the kingdom of God is theirs. We can learn a lot from these young faithful Christians. May we learn from them in humbleness and humility.