May Our Sons and Daughters in Their Youth…

High School Youth preparing to leave for an excursion to Cedar Point Amusement Park from Plymouth United Church of Christ
High School Youth preparing to leave for an excursion to Cedar Point Amusement Park from Plymouth United Church of Christ

Yesterday, a church member showed me cell phone photos of her young daughter at an activity for youth. The little girl had face paint and was surrounded by fun-filled parade characters. Alongside of a young girl-friend, both girls looked like they were in supreme joy. As I swiped through the photos I thought to myself, “This is one of the many ways that parents expose their children to the ways of the world. Each activity builds upon the next and before you know it, the girl has become a woman and the boy has become a man.” What I want to talk about for a brief moment is the process of exposure to spiritual things.

Getting ready to go to Cedar Point with the Youth Ministry of Plymouth United Church  of Christ Detroit
Getting ready to go to Cedar Point with the Youth Ministry of Plymouth United Church of Christ Detroit

The same little girl in the photos also attends Sunday School. For her parents, Sunday School is just as important as every other good and w wholesome activity that they expose their daughter. Let me think back to what I liked about Sunday School from my youth. I liked being with other children who were in my age group. A major part of Sunday School for me was the socialization effect of simply interacting with young persons who were my age. We played, learned about Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit and the Bible from one end to the other. We sang songs that were not always sung in church. We prayed. We learned from adults other than our parents about the good news of Jesus Christ. In the process we grew into our maturity. Several of the leaders in my church today came through Sunday School and the Youth Ministry experience of church.

Sr. High Youth Ministry of Plymouth United Church of Christ preparing to leave for Cedar Point
Sr. High Youth Ministry of Plymouth United Church of Christ preparing to leave for Cedar Point

This morning, several of our young persons from the Senior High Youth Ministry will take a bus to Cedar Point for the pre-Halloween “Scary” weekend.  My younger brother, Steve is the lead adviser for the trip. Some might wonder, what in the world does this have to do with religion? I smile and say, the children will learn about religion and faith, even with this experience because it will be fun, safe, affirming of their person hood and under the auspices of the church. In the process this experience will be counted as something fun they did under the spiritual umbrella of faith.

As a young adult, long before I decided to pursue the ministry, I took a van load of youth to Cedar Point. Along the way we had a blowout flat tire. It was recommended that we purchase not one, but two new tires so they would be balanced. The total amount for the two new tires was $140 dollars. Remember, this was around 1972. To my surprise I took up a collection among the children and we had enough money to buy the new tires and still had enough for the children to enter the amusement park and have fun. I learned from that situation and have been taking up offerings ever since! Smile. Many of the children on that van with the blown out tire who contributed to the offering on the side of the road are present day leaders of the church. They are serving or have served as trustees, deacons, members of the Board for Christian Education, Church finance committees, the Scholarship Fun, Capital Campaign and much more. So, what is the lesson I learned from trips to Cedar Point Amusement Park? Teach the children when they are young about Jesus Christ and they will never depart from the Word and Love of God.

Psalm 144: 12        May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars, cut for the building of a palace. [1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What were the pivotal spiritual experiences from your youth that helped you to develop faith in God?
  2. What are you prepared to do to help expose the young to Jesus Christ?

 

Prayer:

          Lord, I pray for the children. May every child experience the love of Jesus Christ in word and deed from the adults in their lives. Bless our children with happy and wholesome experiences that teach them about faith, hope and love. May your Holy Spirit fall fresh upon the children and keep them always in your care. Through Jesus Christ our Lord I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photos by Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Hood at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

“The Test, The Strength, The Endurance and the Way Out” – a new book of original prayers and photos written and taken by Nicholas Hood III can be purchased for only $15 at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

Book cover
Book cover

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Ps 144:12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.