I’m a senior now, isn’t that crazy? The passage of time is truly relentless, huh. Being a senior means I get to stand up here in front of you all on youth Sunday and start talking. That’s pretty fun, but it also means I’m going to be going off to college in less than 3 months. I think this church is what I’m going to miss the most.
St Luke’s really has done a lot for me in the 6 years that I’ve been going to EYC. The people I’ve met and the things I’ve learned are truly unparalleled.
There come many times in life where you realize something new, or have a big revelation. For me, the first time this happened was some time in my Freshman year of high school, on a church trip.
I was pretty insufferable around that time. On this church trip, I did something to be annoying, as I usually did, and an older member just shut me down, he said, “dude, stop.” I think that’s the first time I listened. I have since matured beyond finding joy in being annoying, and take great care to think about the consequences that my actions create. I realized I exist, and I create an impact.
The second time I had one of these realizations was yet again, at EYC. Sometime last year, we went into the basement over there, and we played Jenga. Of course, we wouldn’t just play Jenga, so it had a bit of a twist to have it relate to church. When we took a piece in the game, we were to say something about the Bible or something we heard someone say about the Christian belief, that we didn’t agree with.
I heard that, and I was like… wow. I love this church! I mean, what other place would give you the freedom to think about something like that?
I think that’s around the time when I started truly thinking. Not just about the things I do and say, but about everything. Myself, the world around me, the world as a whole, society. Everything is all intertwined in this complex web of minor details that come together to form the world as we know it. It really is beautiful, scary, and in a lot of ways, broken. Sometimes we like to pretend that it isn’t, so we isolate ourselves in our thoughtless cocoon, because we’re afraid of what we might find if we look outside. That’s what I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, and I can’t wait until my future self looks back and calls me an idiot.
A few weeks ago, we did presentations in English class; they were fine. I did mine, it went well, all my friends did well, but one presentation stuck out to me the most, and not in a good way. He got up there and so confidently proclaimed that Christians are the most persecuted religion in the world.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling very persecuted right now. That’s silly, right? Any amount of thought put into the idea would make you realize that that idea is silly. Well there it is: thought.
He didn’t think when he gave that presentation. He didn’t think in the month of research that we did on our respective topics… And he is not alone. Many Christians who are somewhat close-minded feel like we’re being snuffed out, simply because other religions are being allowed to practice more freely these days.
You know there’s a saying that says, “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” It’s talking about racism, but I think it can be applied here too. Christianity has been the dominant religion in America since its founding, so of course Christians would feel persecuted when new unfamiliar religions can practice around you. Unless you think about it for more than 5 seconds, because I think everyone here knows that Christians aren’t being persecuted in America, but if you don’t think, it might feel that way.
It’s scary to think, though. In our Gospel today, Jesus was praying for the disciples to not lose faith. Faith in him, yes, but also faith in themselves. Faith that they can think on their own, without him there. I can’t imagine what it would be like to suddenly lose the person you’re relying on, especially if that person is Jesus.
The real world exists right outside our cocoon, constantly trying to break in, so we patch the holes with feelings and fallacy. I suppose I’m somewhat similar to the disciples, what with me going off to college on my own, but I’m not losing Jesus. I’m confident, because I know that I can think straight, and I know anyone can; you just have to break free from your cocoon. See the world how it is, you never know, you might like it.