Today we had the privledge to watch a young man who has dedicated his life to following God, commit to lifelong ministry.
Tonight at dinner we were talking to the kids about the significance of the ceremony when Adley interrupted us and asked
“When will Luke be rich?”
Rick and I looked at each other. Our obvious answer is …’NEVER…he just made a commitment to lifelong ministr…not generally a get rich quick scheme’.
Instead though, we asked. “What is rich Adley?”
“you know…old!” came his reply
🙂 now if you know anything about the Uniting church, you will know that the ministers are…how can I say this nicely…of the silver haired variety 🙂 If you know anything else about the Uniting Church you will know that there is a lot of pomp and ceremony involving robes and processions on ritual occasions.So Adley had seen the ministers, most of them in Perth at theceremony and he had concluded that by becoming a minister, you then would become rich….otherwise translated as old in Adley’s head.
It gave us a little laugh at dinner.
He made a serious point though. What is to become of institutional religion in Australia as the baby boomers move to retirement? There are some lights, such as Luke, young men who are passionate to see people who love God a little, learn to love God a lot. But what is to happen to the buildings that are just half full on a Sunday morning already, when the congregations continue to grow older? The uniting church that I attended as a young girl has already been bulldozed down, a vacant lot in a place that is desperate for the light of God. A place that is aching for people who love God a little to learn to Love God a lot through sharing God’s love with the hurting, just as Jesus did.
Sometimes the state of the church can make me sad. The consumeristic culture within, the hypocrisy, the inability to make changes, the dwidling numbers and divide between the ‘churched’ and the rest of society.
But there is cause for hope. Today was a day of hope. A young guy, passionate, intelligent and ready to serve. A brass band all under the age of 40 leading us in worship, laughter and squeals filled the back of the church as 15 kids under 6 ran off steam through the long service, a model community centre on display that will soon be a space for the churched, unchurched and dechurched to do life together and new minister to be discipled with the hope of reproduction to the neighbouring suburbs.
I don’t think church can continue the way it has for the past few decades, it simple isn’t interesting and rarely provides joy and hope to those who need it most. There is a movement, a shudder that is taking place though. People who willing to step outside the boxes that have been built around them and into the homes and lives of their friends and neighbours. Not with the sole purpose of ‘evangelising’ and Bible bashing their friends but being available and loving them. It certainly is easier to do so when you are not spending every night at church rehearsing or at some kind of program.
So yes Adley, Luke is to become rich…not old (yet) but rich in tradition that the uniting church provides, rich in friendships of those who love God a little but are on a journey to love him more and rich in experiences. But ultimately, we are all rich in the Love of God and we need to share that in any way that is relevant to those around us.