Youth Sunday: Hope

It’s hard to believe it is Youth Sunday again already. Youth Sunday was the last significant event in Youth Ministry before everything changed because of the pandemic, and here we are again, in the year 2021. When I asked the high school seniors what they thought the church needed to hear from them, they kept returning to the idea of hope.

The complications of COVID-19 will forever define the Class of 2021. Whenever they’re asked about their teenage years, they won’t be able to help but think of the months they spent in quarantine, when all their expectations and dreams for the next year were frustrated. These kids had to continue growing and learning in a time defined by uncertainty, social upheaval, and bitter political divides. To my mind, it would be logical for the youth of this time, Generation Z, as they have come to be known, to be profoundly cynical, to see hope as a silly luxury.

I know I feel drawn to such cynicism. My sister-in-law frequently says, “The secret to life is low expectations,” and I often agree with her. It’s more difficult to be disappointed when you have low expectations, whereas, with high expectations, it is almost a guarantee there will be disappointments.

And yet, these youth wanted to talk about hope. We spent time discussing the differences between “wishing” and “hoping,” the difference between passive hope and active hope, and what we think Christian hope is.

As always, I am proud and impressed by the youth of our church. They are caring, open, and despite everything, still seem hopeful amid profound difficulty. I highly encourage each of you to watch the Youth Sunday worship service as I promise it will remind you of who we Christians claim to be and who God calls us to be. May we all be inspired by these teenagers to participate more actively in bringing hope to our hurting world.