It all seems too much. The constant drumbeat of violence. Beirut. Iraq. Paris. Syria. Too many killed. Too many wounded. Families torn apart. Cities in mourning. It can begin to feel hopeless, the search for a solution. How can you change the world?
I'm a co-sponsor for the Angels youth group at Saint Andrew. A wonderful group of third, fourth and fifth graders, our focus is on mission projects with a good mix of fun. The kids this year seem particularly energetic and enthusiastic. And yes, you may read between the lines on their energy and enthusiasm. There are times we have more than our fair share of chaos and rowdiness.
During those times I tend to wonder if I'm connecting. Are we making a difference? Do the children understand how they matter?
Last month we had our annual lock-in at the church. The kids worked on treats for the Pet Blessing being held the morning after the lock-in and on games for the younger kids to play during Trunk or Treat later in the month.
There was a point, though, after breakfast where their energy and enthusiasm got the best of them. And there was a lot yet to do to get set-up for the Pet Blessing that morning. The kids were distracted with fighting over the last donut and playing with the crayons and markers left out the night before. After trying to get their attention a couple of times, the third time came out more sternly than intended. A few begrudgingly began to help. Some stayed behind, still lost in the crayons and markers.
The questions came again to me: "Are we connecting? Do they know they can make a difference? Do they understand how they matter?"
One of the girls, who had seemingly not been paying attention and stayed behind playing with the markers, ran up to me and handed me a napkin she decorated.
In the midst of the chaos, I almost sat down to cry. Love Angels. These are our children. These little disciples, growing into compassionate and connected young adults. Spreading love and light wherever they go.
I do not know how to stop the violence. But I do know how to change the world. It's in the energy and enthusiasm of our children.
Gracious God, help us to find the moments of connection with hearts large and small so that we can create change in the world for good.
Cheri and her son, Jackson, joined Saint Andrew in 2013. She is one of the sponsors for the Angels youth group and on the Leadership Team for Church Growth. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.