Youth - December 2015
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Youth
December 2015
by Hector Meza

Matthew 23:1-4 "Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger." "I love communion in our church." I whispered to Lydia a few weeks ago. She nodded her head in agreement. However, it wasn't due to the meaningful and rich liturgy, or the music, or even the elements (though the bread and grape juice are much better quality than I've shared in some churches.) What made us respond with gratefulness was that we both noted that the people serving were dressed normally. This might not sound profound but we rejoiced that we could be part of a church where all are welcome to receive a reminder of the grace and love of Christ. We have regrettably been a part of churches where this was not the case. One particular story stands out in my mind. Once, when I was younger, I was asked to help serve Communion. I thought it was a great honor and felt blessed to be a part of the service. The only thing was that I didn't own a suit at the time. I thought, "Well, I have a nice shirt and tie. I'll just wear that." I served that Sunday and enjoyed the fellowship with Christ and my church family.

 

However, after serving that Sunday I was approached by a well-meaning brother who told me that I shouldn't serve if I don't wear a suit. I was crushed. Here I was thinking that I was getting to be a blessing to others just to realize that some were offended. What sadness flooded my heart. Not for myself entirely, but I thought about how a person who was even poorer than I was would have felt. Would they feel as though they could never serve? Would they feel even more unworthy of partaking in Communion? Perhaps they would feel that Jesus Himself would reject him from His table. I wonder how many times in the Church we have kept people from coming to Christ because of a "rule" or social norm. How many times have we mistaken having someone look appropriately with having made the person spiritually whole? Now, I'm not advocating allowing everyone to wear speedos in church (or anywhere else for that matter), but have we lost sight of what really matters?. I think of issues like this more and more as new students come out to our youth nights. Some come from very unchurched to downright atheist backgrounds. I'm glad that we have a congregation that as Jesus encouraged, "cleans the inside of the cup." If we allow Jesus to change us internally, the outward will follow where necessary. My hope is that as we enter into the Christmas season and perhaps more new people enter our doors, that these social faux pas we build will fall beneath the weight of God's awesome mercy and grace. May the grace and peace of God be with you all.- --

Hector Meza
Director of Youth Ministries
St. Paul's United Methodist Church

 
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