This past Sunday, we celebrated Youth Sunday at Church of the Holy Communion. It is always a wonderful Sunday when the youth have a chance to show what they are able to do when given the spotlight. On a normal Sunday, you will see the youth still involved with the service, typically as the acolytes and occasionally serving as a Eucharistic Ministers. If you turn around, you may even see our one teenager who sings in the choir. But one Sunday a year, the youth are given the keys to the service and asked to take over.
Even though this youth lead service would not take place until April 2016, work on this one service began in December 2015. Through the months of January and February, our youth worked with the clergy of the church to learn about the Prayers of the People, the Eucharistic Prayer, the Lectionary, the liturgical calendar, how to select music for a service, vestments, you name it, we have learned about it. Why? Because that is what we need to know in order to prepare our service. After learning about the Prayers of the People, the middle school class wrote their own. After learning about the different parts of the Eucharistic Prayer, the high school class writes their own before sending it off to the Bishop for approval. Seriously, how many high school students do you know that can diagram the different parts of the Eucharistic Prayer?! And of course, there is your senior in high school youth preacher.
We also not only choose the music, but perform the music. Over the past few months, a group of incredibly talented youth have worked together to learn all of the music the service, and perform it fantastically! When was the last time you were moved to tears during the music at church? When was the last time the congregation paused Communion to turn and give a round of applause for the music?
Youth Sunday is always a very stressful yet amazing day. By the end of it, I always breathe a sigh of relief, and am thankful that I have another 365 days to prepare for the next one, but am also completely amazed and humbled by the experience. Every single time the youth is tasked with a large job to do, they always seem to exceed expectations and watching them succeed at everything they are challenged with, makes me so proud….but it also makes me wonder…
Why do we only do this once a year?
Why are we only acolytes?
Why do we only have a handful of youth who serve as Eucharistic Ministers?
As our youth preacher pointed out in his sermon this past week, it is believed that the disciples of Jesus ranged between the ages of 12 and 18. And what did they do? They helped establish the largest religion in the entire world, with 2.2 billion followers.
Here at Holy Communion, you are considered a “youth” in the church when you are in grades 6 through 12. The average 6th grader is 12 and the average senior in high school is 18… hmmm
Jesus started with 12 teenagers and changed the world…. We have 120, what can we do?