From the Rector: June 2022
Last Wednesday morning I was honored (once again) to sit with a cohort of our own St. James youth for their Bible study gathering (at Starbucks). Cookie Cantwell and Jane Rippy facilitate this group. Our young people are visibly committed to this endeavor, as evidenced by their stalwart presence at 7:00 a.m. every single week.
Rather than a gentle focus on what should have been the bright prospects of May ending and the arrival of summer in our wonderful Wilmington, our conversation instead was somber and heavy, as we all reflected on the horrific and senseless events which had just happened a day earlier at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. I will say that this conversation was both heartbreaking and hopeful. Here were some ten or so adolescents, all of whom have such bright and hopeful futures, courageously speaking towards the senseless loss of lives younger than theirs - carried out by another teenager in another community. Their reflections were in no way jaded or sarcastic, or even pessimistic. Rather, each of them was willing to be vulnerable and consider how they might individually respond to grief in our world.
As part of this Bible Study, one young person brings a scripture passage to the table, an individual offering of God’s word as a framework for our time together. This was the passage offered by a young lady on Wednesday:
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Where then, our youth wondered aloud, do we see God’s promises for welfare and hope in a world seemingly overflowing with harm? The silence following that question indicated how hard it can be to answer, for any age. Finally a young man offered us all the reminder of the harm Jesus experienced on the cross, and how that was the biggest part of God’s plan for our welfare and future. Our faith and gratitude in God’s grace is what’s important, then. That’s how we respond - with love for our neighbor. Every day.
You might have heard that the youth of St. James are our future. Respectfully, I would affirm that they are indeed our present. Thanks be to God.
God our Father, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, page 829