A priest colleague and I were talking the other day, and I made a comment to him, which pleased him. His response was, "Sweet," and then he said, with a slight laugh, "I'm beginning to sound like my 15 year-old."
Perhaps the church needs to sound a lot more like a 15 year-old, a lot less like the 55 year-old that I am.
I am pleased that my church appeals to young people, that they are involved in many ministries, that we are making a connection with them through our youth ministry, a God connection, if you will, which I hope, and pray, will last them throughout their lives in this world and carry them into the world to come.
But there is so much we need to do, not just my church, but also every church. We need to get close to young people, to listen to their experience, to understand their language and aspirations and fears and anxieties, and we need to respond.
In those gaps that we hear in their lives--they are seeking lasting values, a sense of belonging, their identity--we need to bring God and our faith in the God of love. We need to love our young people, most of all, and in loving them, to show them that God is love. Love will draw them closer to God and will keep them in relationship with God.
In future, I want to do a lot more listening to young people and a lot less talking. I want to learn their language, to hear more about their experience of the Divine, and maybe, as they trust me, to share with them my experience with the Living Christ.
Such a relationship between my and the young people of my church and between all young people and the church will be sweet indeed. Most of all, it will be sweet to God, the Father of us all.