Pastor Rick's May Message
Roy had just graduated from high school the past spring. He was trying to make some decisions about his future: go to college, get a job, travel, or join the army. He really wasn’t sure what he wanted. People would ask him what his interests were. One answer he always gave was that he was a sports fanatic. He loved all kinds of sports and knew statistics about many different athletes. It really wasn’t too surprising that Roy liked sports so much. It was the main topic of conversation around the house. His dad was a Iowa Hawkeye fan and his mom a Cyclone fan. There was almost always a game on TV. And most meals were spent watching whatever the game of the season was.
Now Roy did grow up also going to church. His family attended fairly regularly– at least until he was confirmed. Although in the summer they didn’t go to church as much. His parents made sure he went to Sunday School and Confirmation so he could learn more about God. He liked Vacation Bible School. But at home during the week, there really was no talk about God. He didn’t really know if his parents prayed or how important their faith was to them. There were no prayers before meals (they rarely ate together), he wasn’t taught to say bedtime prayers, no devotions, no one read the Bible. He didn’t see his parents go to any adult ed classes at church. So it was hard for Roy to see what difference it really made to be a Christian. He really didn’t pray too often anymore. He did the time he almost got in a car accident. But he didn’t really think about asking God to give him direction in his life. Or wonder where God might be leading him.
I wonder how many youth in our church may be like Roy. I could have used other scenarios where instead of sports it could have been shopping or music or whatever. I’m not saying that it is wrong to be involved in sports, music or other activities. But I am concerned that too many parents don’t realize how important it is as Christian parents to provide spiritual direction for their children. It is possible that they don’t know how or are uncomfortable sharing their faith. And it’s not just parents, but grandparents, aunts and uncles, all of us have a critical role in helping our young people know Jesus better. There are concerns that too many youth “drop out” of church involvement after confirmation. I notice (and research supports) that many of those who drop out do not have parents who are actively involved in the church. Now there are always exceptions, but if youth see the adults in the church as not actively involved in regular worship or practicing their faith at home, then they are less likely to be involved.
With Sunday School soon ending and summer beginning, there is often a significant drop in worship attendance. I wonder what kind of witness that makes to our children and youth. If parents find excuses for not going to worship, that shows youth and anyone else where their priorities lie.
Children are watching us to see if our faith makes a difference in how we live and in the decisions we make. That is why in our service for Holy Baptism we ask God to “make them (parents) teachers and examples of righteousness for their children.” And why parents promise to bring their child to church.
Please make going to worship a priority all summer long. I believe we still need to hear the good news of God’s love for us. We need to hear we are forgiven and taste that forgiveness in Holy Communion. If you are traveling, try and find a church to worship in.
American Lutheran will be providing an additional midweek service on Wednesdays at 6:30 starting May 24th. The sermon will be the same as the previous Sunday. Going to worship isn’t only for your sake. It also is a witness to family and others. Hope to see you in worship.
See you in worship,
Interim Pastor Rick Biederman