Musings from Ministry Team Members

Posted February 22nd, 2018

Dear Family,

As I sit in my office today, I can hear the loud clangs of my two kids playing in the classroom next to me and I am reminded why I love snow days. My two kids have played so well together this morning and this is an anomaly. This isn’t normal. This isn’t what I expected, and yet, they are. They have defended each other. They have made each other laugh. They have skated on the ice rink that used to be the sidewalk. And they showed me that two persons who normally wouldn’t associate with one another can become the closest friends.

These are the moments that inspire me and help me dream of what could be. Why did my kids come together to play so nice? They wanted to come to work with me instead of going to a babysitter. They had a common goal. A shared purpose. A vision of what needed to be done, and they achieved it. Beautifully.

If my two kids, ages 9 and 7, can figure this out, then we should have no problems as adults to discern the better way. Right? I mean, my two kids fight more than I want to admit. They love to injure each other. They try to get each other in trouble. (Side note, as I let you all peek into our world, I hope and pray our family is not unique). Anyway, if my two kids can find a way to get along to accomplish a common goal, surely our world full of educated, professional, and intelligent adults can do the same.

I sit with these questions and thoughts as we move along in our Lenten journey. The Lenten Theme is “Divine Fusion: Holy Spirit meets/dances with Human Spirit.” I love the possibilities that our theme produces. These images of the Creator and created dancing together as we co-create a world that honors God, makes the world better for everyone. But even as I daydream of what could be, I make the mistake of turning on my television or clicking on a link and am brought back to reality. Our world is not as it should be.

Instead of dancing together, recreating a world where our schools are refuges and places of learning and growing, we have made them into mini warzones. Instead of highlighting students raising their voices to be heard, I hear adults chastising the students, accusing these students of being puppets for some agenda, and my heart breaks. These teenagers, who believe in the American dream, speak up and challenge their elected officials to do something, anything, as we tell them too. Instead of adults applauding the students’ courage, some adults mock them. Some adults hurl false accusations at them. And my heart breaks.

It is time for change. It is time for us to take the Divine hand and dance to make our world safer and holier. Not just for today but also for tomorrow. Not just so we can fill the pews on Sunday but also that future generations can still believe in the church as a place of refuge, a place to take the hand of God and dance. But that is not as it is today. I am not suggesting that we, as members of the McPherson Church of the Brethren, are guilty of hurling insults at these amazing teens but our world is. I am saying that as adults, we need to protect and empower our students. It is not about them inheriting the future. It is about their role in our world today. Now.

My kids showed me it can happen and we can also come together and attain a common goal. I see no greater goal/purpose than giving our young people space to speak. A place for them to answer their own call to make the world better. A chance to stand with our young people as they march, as they preach, as they pray, as they sing, as they mourn. When we do, I believe we will see God moving in amazing and holy ways. Young people are going to change the world and we can stand with them and be a part of this epic moment. Or we can be stuck on the sidelines, wishing we had their courage. If we want to see God’s spirit infused with the human spirit, it starts by standing together. It starts by preaching together. Marching together and loving each other. Holding one another’s hand and moving forward with a common purpose. So will you join me in standing with our young people as they demand safer schools? Will you stand with our students as they put themselves out there, risking it all, to demand change? If we do, we will see God moving in miraculous ways.  Amen.

— Jerry Bowen

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